Two local youth golfers recently competed in one of the most prestigious events in amateur golf.
Charlie Haney and Lilly Mrozik both played in the U.S. Kids World Golf Championship in their respective divisions. Haney tied for 32nd (out of 154 golfers) in the 11-year-old boys’ division, while Mrozik tied for 93rd (of 101) in the 10-year-old girls’ flight.
Playing at Talamore Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., Haney ended at 10-over par in the 54-hole event. He shot 3-over 75 in his first round and 7-over 79 in the second. But he finished with a flourish, shooting his best round of the event over his final 18 holes, when he posted an even-par 72.
He began the tournament with a birdie on his first hole, but then went 4-over par in his next 10. He bounced back to card two more birdies in the opening round. In his second round, he only was 1-over par through 10, but his back nine was a struggle, as he shot a 42 (6-over).
His even-par final round including four birdies and four bogeys. He had 10 one-putts in the final 18 to move up eight spots on the leaderboard.
Eddie Gu of Ontario, Canada, won the title in a four-hole playoff over Michigan native Nemo Tsai after both finished at 9-under par.
Haney has played in the world championship each of the last five years. In every one of those events, he’s finished 37th or better.
His showing at the world championship followed his title at the U.S. Kids Golf Midwest state invitational at Paradise Pointe Complex in Smithville, Mo. Haney won the two-day tournament with after posting back-to-back 74 (4-over par). He won by five strokes over nine other players.
Unlike Haney, Mrozik is not yet a veteran of the world championship circuit; this event marked her first appearance at the world championship.
Playing at the Lake Course at Carolina Trace Country Club in Sanford, N.C., Mrozik had scores of 95, 100 and 96. She parred three of her final five holes in the opening round, and carded her only birdie of the tournament on Hole No. 4 in Round 2. In her final 18 holes, she had five pars and tied her best nine-hole score (43; 7-over) on the back nine.
Savera Sandhu of Ashburn, Va., won the event with a score of 5-under par. She was one of only two players to finish in red figures for the tournament.
Mrozik still has more to play for later this year, though.
She placed first in the Drive, Chip, & Putt sub-regional’s 9- and 10-year-old division at Fred Arbanas Golf Course in Kansas City, Mo.
She now will play in the Midwest regional at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo., on Sept. 19.
The top finisher at the regional earns a spot in the Drive, Chip, & Putt national finals, which will be held next year at Augusta National Golf Club. The event is played the Sunday prior to the beginning of The Masters, and will air live on the Golf Channel.