From home paddock to New York
From the low-lying hills of Okoroire to the bright lights of New York – who ever said small town kids can’t think big? Certainly not Kyra Alexander. The talented young golfer has landed a four-year scholarship to Wagner College on Staten Island.
The past few years have seen her make huge progress in the individual sport, winning Waikato Age Groups two years ago, placing seventh in last year’s New Zealand Age Groups and most recently being selected as the fifth player for the Waikato Women’s side that competed in the InterProvincial championships.
But 18-year-old Alexander said it all started with the swing of a club on the front lawn of her Okoroire home.
‘‘My dad used to mow a section of a paddock in front of the house and he used to practice there. One day I went out and hit a golf ball and they [her parents] thought ‘oh, she can hit a golf ball’ so they got me into it.’’
That back country paddock proved to be a worthy training ground until she made the Golf Academy at St Peter’s School Cambridge.
But it is goodbye to those familiar South Waikato hills – for four years at least.
Alexander, who flew to the United States on Sunday, said college officially starts on August 28 so she will have at least one week to find her way around her new stomping ground.
Wagner College is paying for 90 per cent of all her schooling and on-campus accommodation leaving just 10 per cent for Alexander to cover.
She said she plans on eventually paying for the remainder of her fees through golf. ‘‘ There are more opportunities [in the US] I guess . . . there’s way more sponsorship . . . and just a lot more golf.’’
She is extremely proud of her selection but the humble teenager said gaining an American scholarship is something a lot more student athletes should look into.
‘‘Even if you’re average you can get a small scholarship.’’
Aiming high: Kyra Alexander proves small town girls can think big.