FOLLOWING an impressive display at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open in April, the country’s leading junior golfer, Sean Crocker, hopes to make a good impression at the prestigious United States Junior Amateur Championship on Monday.
The 66th annual event, held by the United States Golf Association, helps determine the best junior golfer in the country and previous winners of the coveted title include current world number one Tiger Woods.
Crocker, who turns 17 next month, will be the only Zimbabwean in the field for the tournament set for Martis Camp in Trucker, California.
The US-based young star was exempted for the tournament by the United States Golf Association (USGA) by virtue of being inside top 400 on the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday, Crocker’s father, Gary, said the 16-year-old teenage sensation had thoroughly prepared for the tournament and hopes to make the cut.
“We leave today, (yesterday) on an eight-hour drive to Truckee where he will play in two official practice rounds tomorrow (today) and Sunday. The US Junior Amateur Championships starts on Monday and Tuesday with the 36 hole stroke play, played on the two days, followed by the Matchplay event through to the weekend,” said the former Zimbabwe Test cricketer from his base in the US yesterday.
“Hopefully he will go and make the cut and then go deep into the Matchplay. It’s a very exciting tournament on a tough course, Martis Camp Golf Course, which is 7 600 yards long.
“Sean has been working very hard and as always and has been going to the course every day to hits balls. He has been going to the gym too and working out for one to two hours on certain exercises to strengthen his core and muscles. He has also been putting a lot of effort on his shot game and also on his putting.
“He has also played a fairly good tournament this past week, which is used as a warm up event, The Toyota Tour Cup which was a 54-hole event, coming in third. What was more important is although we were going out there to win it; we were also using it to ensure that he would play himself into some good form,” said Gary.
The US Amateur Championships is open to qualifying individuals who are under the age of 18 and have a 6.4 handicap or below.
Two stroke play rounds will be held on Monday and Tuesday to get down to match play, which begins on Wednesday and culminates with the championship round on Saturday.
Crocker was the best-placed amateur golfer at the prestigious Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open.
The young star held his own against some of the finest players on the Sunshine Tour, carding rounds of 69, 74, 72 and 73 to finish on a respectable position 31.
He is also currently a front runner to represent Zimbabwe at the second edition of the Summer Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, from August 16-28 next year.