Alberta’s Eileen Park is proving her talent is much bigger than her stature.
The 12-year-old Red Deer resident is one of the youngest competitors at this week’s Canadian Junior Girls Championship at the Leduc Golf and Country Club.
Park shot an impressive 74 in the opening round, which helped her make the cut in the four-day tournament.
It is not a bad showing for a golfer who is competing in her first Canadian championship against girls up to six years older.
“It’s my first time playing in a national tournament,” Park said.
“It’s really fun to play with other big girls that are really good.”
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Two weeks prior to the tournament, Park nearly won the Alberta U19 Girls Championship, losing in a playoff to Calgary’s Grace Bell.
Park, who is four feet nine inches, is embracing playing against bigger and older golfers, and using it as an opportunity to learn from her competitors.
“When someone’s in trouble, I can see how they do their shots and how they hit their balls,” Park said.
“She’s obviously going to feel some excitement, but we work on things so she’s prepared to do so and we talk about it,” Darcy Dhillon, Park’s coach, said regarding her first appearance at the Canadian championship.
“I’d say it’s all about the preparation and she’s prepared to whoop some butt.”
Park has won numerous junior tournaments during her young career, including the under-13 provincial championship in 2020. She has not stumbled upon success; she has worked incredibly hard for it from an early age.
“It’s inspiring for me to see her work ethic because it makes me get out of bed every morning and show up at a 110 per cent because I know I have to because she’s showing up ready to work,” Dhillon said.
“Golf has a lot of things to do, so there’s a lot of clubs to hit, so I like practicing each one of them because they have different actions I guess to do,” Park said.
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Park is a very ambitious golfer. Her ultimate goal is to be the top ranked player on the LPGA tour.
But for now, she is going to take it one step — and one swing — at a time.