From guest blogger Kimberly Shannon
Latanna Stone, a 10-year-old golfer with 102 amateur tournament wins under her belt, is now the youngest person to qualify for a USGA event.
She shot a 2-under 70 on July 13 at the Wanderers Club in Wellington, Fla., receiving medalist honors, and will be playing in the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship that begins on August 6 in Cleveland. She is two years younger than any girl to compete in the tournament.
Stone has been playing golf since she was two years old. While watching her father Michael play, she told him she wanted to try it, and he made her a makeshift golf club out of a broomstick, reports Studio 10. Years later, Stone’s father was caddying for her while her mother played the role of videographer.
While there has been some concern that Stone is headed for stardom too young, with critics alluding to such child prodigies as Michelle Wie, Stone seems to have a true passion for the game. Her favorite strokes are putting and chipping, and her parents have noted her extraordinary ability to concentrate.
Stone’s schedule regularly includes home-schooling at 6:30 a.m., as well as golf practice five days a week. She told Studio 10 that it is no problem for her to balance golf with school, and that her parents help her manage her time.
Stone also maintains a Twitter account and tweets frequently (@LatannaStone), complimenting fellow golfers and occasionally giving her two cents on the latest baseball games. One of her Twitter followers is 10-year-old Karah Sanford, also a golf champion, who had beaten Stone in the Junior World Golf Championship by twelve strokes two years ago, reports SBNation.com.
Stone hopes to one day compete in the LPGA, and believes that she can eventually be the best in the world. “Some kids will say that and don’t really know what they’re talking about,” said Stone’s trainer Charlotta Sörenstam in a story by Golfweek writer Beth Ann Baldry. “She does.” Sörenstam was a winner in the LPGA tour of 2000, and is the sister of Hall of Fame golf pro Annika. Stone’s first trainer, however, was also the man who inspired her to play and still supports her every step of the way—her father.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.