Lessons Learned: Young Nevada golfer moves up in class
Nevada fifth-grader Emree Cameron took her game to the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship, held Aug. 3-5 at Seven Lakes Golf Club, located near Pinehurst Golf Course in North Carolina.
Cameron, competing in the 10-year-old division against 108 of the best young golfers in the world, finished tied for 44th with a 29-over par at the three-day, 54-hole event.
Michelle Liu of Vancouver, British Columbia, claimed the world title, firing a 1-under-par, while Texas native Avery Zweig made up major ground on the final day, finishing a stroke back of Liu.
Cameron carded an 80 on day one, which included a 38 on the back nine, with birdies on holes 12 and 16. Cameron was in 31st-place at the conclusion of day one.
On day two Cameron opened the round with a birdie on the first hole, while reaching the turn at just two over par. She then ran into trouble on the 11th hole, slicing her second shot left into a thicket of pine trees.
Staying in bounds by just a couple of feet, she was left with a small opening between two pine trees. The only option from there was to punch out with a 6-iron.
Tasked with one of the toughest shots of her young career, Cameron hit the pine tree, with the ball ricocheting out of bounds. By the time she holed out the damage had been done, with Cameron carding a nine on the hole.
“The nine she took was deflating for everyone,” noted Eric Cameron, Emree’s father and trusted caddy. “But if you want to play with the best, you have to move on and put it behind you.”
The setback on No. 11 led to Cameron tallying an 86 on day two.
“It would have been nice for her to score better on the second day, but we both learned some valuable lessons,” said Eric. “You have to minimize the damage when you get into trouble out there. There’s no room for error if you expect to win at this level.”
Cameron rebounded on the final day with a 7-over-par 79.
“She played the best nine holes of her life,” said Eric, “with birdies on holes one and five, leaving her even par at the turn. An unbelievable score at this level.”
Eric continued: “To go out and shoot even par on nine holes and a 79 through 18 holes at the world championship is better than we could have even imagined. In seven days she played 108 holes of golf getting prepared.”
Added Eric: “She only weighs 63 pounds. If I were to go out and play that much golf, my back would give out. I would say she represented the state and town well out there. Nobody in our region finished better than her in her age group.”
Emree said the highlight of the event was nearly sinking a hole-in-one on the fifth hole on day three. Her least favorite memory was bouncing the ball off a pine tree.
“I learned how to hit from all different kinds of lies, like off pine needles or hills,” said Cameron with a wry smile.
When asked what advice she would give another kid looking to be the best they can be, Cameron responded: “Do what you love, practice hard, be confident, and get involved.”
Win Green campaign
For the year, Emree Cameron has raised $10,300 for the Win Green campaign, which topped the list of 50 participating golfers.
Win Green, according to its Facebook page, is a non-profit organization in which 50 elite youth golfers from around the world raise money through their play on the golf course for pediatric cancer awareness.
Cameron recently spoke to a group of approximately 50 people, thanking everyone for their support and the opportunity to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the Sadie Keller Foundation.
“Emree’s participation in the Win Green campaign has really helped her grow as a person and equipped her with life skills that will help prepare her for the future,” said Eric.
For anyone wanting more information on how the Sadie Keller Foundation can touch the life of a child battling cancer, Cameron can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.