"Off the Course" is where we talk to the players, learn about who they are, and get their thoughts about playing the game. From time to time we'll also interview college players about their junior careers and how college golf is different. We welcome your comments and suggestions. E-mail us or call toll free - 804-935-1800.
2018 US Junior
US Junior Amateur -Stroke Play Medalist
Donald Ross - Runner Up
|Weíre sitting here with Kelly, fellow Virginian, at the US Junior
Amateur. It was a big day?
Yes Ė big day.
I was looking at your scorecard. It looks like a switch went off on the back nine with the birdies. Is that something that happens consciously or does it just happen?
I have had a really good finishes in the past. Yesterday I was two under on the last three holes. Itís not something I always do, but I have done it before.
So tell us how you got involved with golf.
My grandfather. Heís in Japan and he loves golf. He plays every week and goes to the range everyday. There was one time when we travelled to Japan to visit him and he took me when I was three years old. After that, two years later, we were living in Washington state. My Dad is in the military and my Mom bought me this plastic golf clubs.
Were there other sports you played at that age.
Yes I played baseball up to age 9 or 10. I was playing very well as a shortstop. The coach asked me to be on the travel team and I had to make a decision on what sport to play. At the end I chose golf. I also did cross country when we lived in Hawaii.
Do you play on your high school team?
Yes I do. I go to Langley High School. We won states last year. Itís a large school, 6A so the competition was pretty good.
Do your parents play golf?
Yes. They picked it up. They both now play so on weekends we can play together so itís nice.
Letís about something other than golf. If you could not play golf, what sport would you play?
Definitely baseball. Even now when I am not playing golf, I will play baseball with my friends. And I follow baseball a lot.
Are your friends golfers or non-golfers?
A little bit of both.
What are your favorite subjects in school?
I really enjoy math and science. I am that type of person.
And which subject are you not so crazy about?
English, not my favorite.
Favorite type of music?
Pop and hip hop. A mix of both. I used to play viola in 3rd grade to 6th grade.
Here comes my favorite question. If we took a group of your friends and asked then to give us some adjectives that described you, what would we hear?
I am on the quiet side.
If you are in a classroom and the teacher asks a question you know the answer to, would your hand be the first one up, or the second one?
Probably the fourth one up.
Do you watch movies?
Yes I do. I have always been a huge Marvel fan. I love how they have put all these movies together.
If you could pick a place to visit where you have never been, where would you go?
I would like to go to Northern Japan. In February they make these huge snow or ice sculptures. Itís a festival. I have heard the food is fantastic as well.
At home do you eat a Japanese menu or is it a mixture.
Itís a mixture.
Getting back to golf, which if these are you the most confident about: Driving, short game, fairway irons, or putting.
I would say my fairway irons. Yesterday I hit 15 greens. I donít know about today (2nd stroke play round) but it was pretty close. It makes the game a great deal easier.
If you are practicing a normal school year week of golf, how much do you practice?
I get out of school at 2:55 so it would be two and half hours four days a week. I have learned practice techniques from several coaches so I am pretty self directed when I practice.
What do you like about the sport the most?
I really like how each hole can bring a new challenge. There can be a ton of bunkers or water so you have to manage and think about you game. In baseball itís just a field. In golf it can be long or short and there are the variables. You have to think about each shot.
Name a couple of junior events besides the US Junior you would like to win?
There are a couple of AJGA invitational events like the Thunderbird I would like to win. The fields are just as talented as this field.
Where do you hope golf will take you?
My dream has always been the PGA Tour. But first I want to play college golf. I have heard so many amazing things about how much fun it is. Itís cool to have a team with you, rooting you on.
If you think about how Bob Rotella talks about the necessity of composure, concentration, confidence and commitment to be successful, which of those is your best?
Commitment. I am motivated to play at the highest level I can. I love to practice and compete. I also have good composure I think. At one point I was two over but knew my chances would come.
Here is a final question. If you were to aspire to something in golf, life, spiritually, careerÖ what would that be?
To be successful but also having fun doing it. I want to enjoy what I do every day.
Thank you Kelly. Congratulations on your golf so far and the rest of the way.
Thank you. I enjoyed this.
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