This past week, I was in West Palm Beach, Fla., for my final event of the year: the AJGA Polo Golf Junior Classic. We started off the week by attending the Rolex Junior All-American Banquet. All of the All-Americans were honored, and this year, I was a First Team All-American. This year’s Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award went to Tobin Niblett, and let me tell you all, my friends and I talked about his story afterwards and we were all inspired by it.
The Polo starts with two rounds of stroke play and then the field is cut to the top 32 boys and 32 girls, who compete in match play. We played at PGA National Resort’s Fazio and Champion courses (where the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic is played). In my first round, I played the Champion Course, and I didn’t start out too well. I shot ] even par on the front nine, but went 6 over on the back-nine. There were very strong winds all week and some rain, and playing the infamous Bear Trap in those conditions was tough and wasn’t fun. The second day was better as I shot 1 under on the Fazio Course and made match play!
Match play is all about strategy, and that’s why I love this format. I made it to the quarterfinals this year and lost to eventual champion Linnea Strom. I played against Shannon Aubert in my first match, and then against Angel Yin in my second match. Last year, I lost to Angel during the semifinals, so this year, I was ready for a rematch. We’ve been friends since we were 9 years old, so it was a fun match.
In my match against Linnea, I was 2 up through nine holes, but being the great player that she is, she made a comeback on the back nine, where we never tied a hole. We were all square going into the par-5 18th, and I chunked my second shot left into a fairway bunker, hit my third shot into the greenside bunker and blasted it off the green on my fourth, so I just gave her the hole because she had about 10 feet for birdie and so she won, 1 up. I knew it was a tough match before we started, but I’m happy for her since she eventually won the whole tournament.
In my next event, I’ll be defending my title at the Annika Invitational in January. I can’t wait for this tournament! It’s one of my favorite tournaments of the year because we get the chance to meet the legend herself, Annika Sorenstam. But right now, it’s time to go back to school and catch up on some make-up work, so until next time!
Whistles go Wu Wu!