First-Round Notes: 2016 World Championship

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Photo by Filippo Vianelli

The 2016 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship marks the 11th anniversary in Pinehurst and the 17th anniversary of the tournament.

Parade of Nations Video

Yesterday, 1,552 junior golfers began their three-day match against their assigned courses. Ten Pinehurst area golf courses will play host to thirteen age groups again over the next two days. For some, the goal is World Champion; others, a top five, ten or twenty finish. Regardless of your individual goal, we hope that you follow the two rules of the week. Rules #2 — play your best golf. But more importantly, Rule #1 — HAVE FUN!

Road to Pinehurst

The U.S. Kids Golf staff is proud to welcome players and their families from over 40 states and 50 countries. One young boy traveled farther than anyone else in the field — 11,520 miles from Perth, Australia. His name is Hunter Woodley-Page, he is seven-years-old and playing at Mid Pines. We are happy to have him and every other young golfer who has made the pilgrimage to the Cradle of American Golf — Pinehurst.

While the World Championship is a journey for some, for others, it is a mere drive down the street, beneath the whispering pines. Three players in the field have the luxury of returning to their home in Pinehurst after each day on the course. Sebastian Balbin (Boys 7), Jackson Bode (Boys 12) and Jackson Van Paris (Boys 12).

Low Rounds

The low round for boys playing nine holes came from six-year-old Yuuma Nemoto. The Japanese native played in his first World Championship last year at the age of five, and never recorded a round lower than 40, finishing in 23rd. This year, he has a one shot lead after carding a 32 at Midland Country Club.

Sihan Sandhu posted the lowest score of the tournament in round one with a nine-under-par, 63. Sandhu is a thirteen-time Regional Championship winner and two-time European Championship winner. His 63 consisted of six birdies, two eagles and a bogey. He now has a two shot lead heading into round two.

2015 World Champion Gianna Clemente continued her impressive play this week with a 33 at Longleaf Golf & Family Club. The eight-year-old from Warren, OH shot six-under in Pinehurst last year, has won the last four Regional Championships she has played and has not posted a tournament round over par since September of last year.

Alexa Pano is quickly making a name for herself in the golf world. Pano burst onto the scene back in 2012 when she co-starred in The Short Game — an independent documentary about the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship. Pano is a four-time World Champion and has won all 22 Regional Championships she’s played. She won the 2016 Drive, Chip & Putt, played in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur Open and was the youngest player to compete in an LPGA Japan Tour event. The eleven-year-old now owns the largest lead of any age group (five strokes) after posting a 67 in her first round at Southern Pines. The future is bright for this young girl.

Holes-In-One

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Not pictured: Pongsapak Laopakdee – First Round – Mid South

First-round results  |  Second-round tee times
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