Young golfer’s talent turns heads
From Pinehurst to Titahi Bay – Jayden Ford has packed a lot of golf into his seven years.
The budding golfer from Ascot Park has a swing many of his elders would kill for and he is putting it to good use. Last year was his first taste of playing in a ‘‘ professional’’ tournament, coming 19th in the Callaway Junior World Golf Tournament event in San Diego, which attracts golfers from all over the world.
This year, at the kids’ course at Pinehurst, North Carolina, Ford fared even better in the ultracompetitive US Kids World Championships, finishing 8th out of 85 entrants. The result automatically qualifies him for the 2012 tournament, which may be held in Auckland.
The family got back early last month from their trip to the United States, where Ford played two other tournaments, including the Callaway event again, coming 52nd overall (12th among sevenyear-olds).
With his own high standards at stake, he says he was not that happy with 8th in the US Kids event, a few bogeys ruining his par-laden 27 holes. He finished three over, 10 shots shy of the winner with scores of 36, 39 and 39.
‘‘It could have been better; my goal was top 10 but as I went on I thought ‘I can finish higher’.’’
There were ‘‘easy and hard’’ holes but his personal highlight was knocking a 5-iron shot to within 10 feet of the pin on one of the par threes.
The tournament was an eyeopener for his parents Izzy and Glynn, the latter caddying for Ford. Some of the other players had professional caddies, swing coaches and ‘‘ quite pushy parents’’, Izzy says.
All the courses were immaculate. Playing at Pinehurst (the kids’ course is called Mid Pines), was special, Ford says, with a wall dedicated to Michael Campbell’s US Open win there in 2005 compulsory viewing.
Fundraising was vital and the family is extremely grateful for the support they received from several quarters as Ford continues to chase his dream. Stevens Motors provided return flights to LA.
Next up is the club champs later this month and plenty of competition play this summer. Ford aims to get his handicap down to the ‘‘low 20s’’ by the end of this year.
‘‘I wish I could just play every day. All I want to do is play golf.’’
Making his mark: Jayden Ford, with the silver plate commemorating his 8th place at Mid Pines. He is a normal, grounded seven-year-old who has the passion and desire to go far in his sport.