How do you top being a world champion when you are just 9 years old?
The answer is simple, you win another world championship when you are 11 years old.
Davis Petty did just that when he claimed the 9-11-year-old age group world championship at the Under Armour Junior Tour World Championships at Disney World.
The young golfer from Spartanburg was coming off one of his very rare disappointing finishes in a big tournament but found a way to bounce back and win an even bigger championship.
Petty was the defending age group champion at the SCJGA Blade Junior in Greenville, but last week just didn’t seem to ever get a feel for the tournament.
“It was one of the first times I can remember him having some doubt,” said his coach Chip Ridley, who is the PGA Professional at The Creek Golf Club. “When we got down here to Florida he went right to work and he practiced as hard as I can remember,” he said.
With the extra quality practice, Petty was able to put the disappointment at Thornblade in his rearview mirror and shot a great opening round at the tournament played on Disney’s Palm Course.
The Spartanburg golfer birdied his first three holes, then five of his first seven, and finished his front nine with a 32 to open his first round.
On his second nine, he cut three more shots off par to finish at 7-under. His 65 was good for a two-shot lead over Matthew Marigilano from West Palm Beach and Hudson Justus from Gainesville, Ga.
In the final round, Petty almost equaled his hot first-round start, but not quite. He only made 4-birdies in his first 7-holes.
His front nine 4-under par total helped build his lead to as many as 6-shots in the second round.
The 2020 9-year-old US Kids World Champion added to his lead with two birdies in his first three holes on the back nine and played steadily to end his second round with a `12-under par 132 total and the win.
Niko Gordic-Ronderos from Bradenton, Fl, tried to catch up to Petty, but his rally started a little too late. He finished with three straight birdies to come within two shots of Petty and finished in second place.
Already one of the most accomplished juniors in his age group, Petty occasionally plays with older juniors in tournaments to challenge himself.
Last June, at the Summer Nationals, Petty played up an age level, testing his game against older and bigger golfers in the 12-14 age division.
He also played “up a level” at the Future Masters in Dothan, Alabama. He finished 14th in the age division but was the top finisher in his age class.
“I want to play against these guys now so I will be ready when I get a little older,” he said.
While Petty can work on his swing and his short game, another important part of his continued development as a golfer will only come with time as he and many other talented young players need to let their bodies catch up with their games.
Petty looks like you would expect an 11-year-old to look. The physical development of some young players he competes with can often make age group competitions look unfair.
Some seem to have grown a foot overnight and others look like they need a shave.
“Size is making a difference,” said Petty. “Some of the guys were a little bigger and could hit the ball longer. I know I have to be patient” he said.
But he also knows, as now the top-ranked 9-11-year-old golfer in the Under Armour Junior Tour national rankings, outstanding play like he displayed in winning the UA Junior World title is expected, no matter how young you may be.
“After you win people think you are supposed to win all the time. There is some pressure, but I want to go out and play free and have some fun,” said the 11-year-old sounding like a veteran PGA Tour winner.
The next “world to conqueror” for Petty will begin on August 4th when he returns to Pinehurst to play in the US Kids World Championships, to see if he can add another quality performance to his summer resume.
Categories: Junior Golf