Abalos snares US worlds, Euro Kids golf slots
She first picked up a golf club in 2016 and started competing just nine months ago.
As Celine Abalos turns nine years old Sunday, she can look back to a meteoric climb in the local age-group circuit.
She can also look forward to even more challenging stints in the international stage.
Following an impressive performance in the Kids Golf World Championship in Malaysia, Abalos punched a ticket to two of the most prestigious youth golf events in the world—the 11th Kids Golf European Championships in East Lothian, Scotland (5-18 years) and the US Kids Worlds in North Carolina (12 years and under)—next year.
Past Filipino champions of the US edition are five-time winners Dottie Ardina and Miya Legaspi and three-time titlist Jed Dy.
Though her coach, Carmellete Villaroman, expected her to shine, she still got startled by Abalos’ swift development.
“We are very impressed with her progress,” said Villaroman. “She has the best attitude a coach could hope for. She is a fighter who never wants to give up.”
The youngest of five children of former Mandaluyong congressman Benhur Abalos and Mandaluyong Mayor Menchie, Celine placed second to seasoned Thai Namo Luangnitikul in the girls’ 8-and up division at the Straits Course of Tanjong Puteri Resort in Johor Bahru to qualify for the European and US events.
Celine fired rounds of 37, 36 and 38, five-over-par in total, and yielded the title by three shots to Luangnitikul.
Villaroman views it in a positive light, saying that the experience would only motivate Celine to hone her skills even further and prepare her for tougher competitions.
A total of 312 players from 26 countries, counting Australia and the United States, took part in the event, so Abalos’ advance was a feat in itself.
“She wants this,” Villaroman, the former Ladies Open and Philippine Ladies champion who caddied for Celine, said of the prodigious talent. “I have never asked her to train. She wants to do this and that’s a big plus.”
It helps, of course, that Celine’s parents are fully supportive of her budding golf career.
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