Robin Wang, 15, plays beyond his age group
One of Robin Wang's best birthday gifts came from his flat stick this year.
He rolled in two 30-foot putts in the final round of the Florida Junior Tour's event at the LPGA National Golf Club's Jones Course in Daytona Beach March 2. The first was for birdie, and the second gave the class of 2017 junior golfer an eagle en route to a 4-under 68. He finished the tournament at 7 under, well ahead of the rest of the pack in the boys 13-15 division.
Wang turned 15 two days later. The tournament is an example of Wang playing among his age group, but that hasn't always been the the norm for the No. 1 class of 2017 golfer in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
"I'm really used to competing with kids older than me. I would do that when I was really young. I'd always play up," Wang said. "I'm really comfortable with that. Every time I go to a tournament, I just do my best and hopefully learn something from it."
As for the juniors and seniors in high school that fall behind: "They are pretty surprised," said Wang, a freshman at Lake Mary Preparatory School in Florida.
Wang won the AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational in October and has some big plans for 2014 as well.
He has his eyes set on the AJGA's TaylorMade-adidas Golf Junior at Innisbrook on April 17 and the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club the following week for now.
Unlike the class of 2016's Brad Dalke, who committed to play college golf at Oklahoma at the age of 12, Wang is not thinking about college anytime soon.
"I'm just trying to do good in school and keep working really hard on golf," Wang said. "After high school, I'll see where my golf game is. If I'm playing really well and I can go on to play some tournaments, I'll probably turn pro. But if I'm doing just OK, I'll probably go play college golf, if I can."
But, if he was looking at college, Wang said he'd want to play in sunny California for the weather.
Wang trains at Eagles Dream Golf Academy at Timacuan Golf Club in Sanford, Fla. On a typical day, he goes to class from 7:40 a.m. to 12:40 p.m., practices till about 6 p.m., exercises for an hour and then heads home to work on homework.
His training regimen is demanding, but he's following after his heroes, whom he listed with ease.
"Jack Nicklaus because of his mental game and Phil Mickelson for his short game and courage," Wang said.
Wang has lofty goals, but he certainly knows who to emulate.