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Tournaments pushing young golfer’s game to new heights

In the winter, Elmira’s Isiah Katsube plays AAA hockey, but in the summer, he is playing 18-holes.

On Monday, he won the junior tournament at the Elmira Golf Club, and late last week, he placed 11th in provincial competition.

A member of the Whistlebear Junior Performance Team, 14-year-old Katsube has had a banner year on the links. It is only his second year playing in tournaments despite having been golfing since he was five years old.

“There is a little bit more pressure. It isn’t just a casual game anymore,” he said after winning the junior tournament in Elmira on Monday. “I just find the sport fun to play. It is relaxing. Golf is more about just you.”

For two days last week, Aug. 3 and 4, Katsube was going up against Ontario’s best in the U15 Bantam Boys’ Championship. He placed 11th, shooting 74 on the first day, and matching his score on the second. He had the lowest score of all five players from the Kitchener-Waterloo area and came second in birdies on the field.

“I thought I had some pretty good rounds. It was a bit up and down, but overall, I thought I did okay,” he said. “My goal was to be in the top 10, and I was close.”

It took Katsube a couple of weeks to get himself in the swing of things this year, posting higher scores than he had hoped, but in the past month, he has seen significant improvements in his game, and will be working on his short game – putting and chipping.

“It has averaged out in the past month,” he said of his scores. “Now, I am consistently shooting around a 75. I played a couple more tournaments and I think that got me in it.”

He is continuing the tournament circuit, playing in Kitchener last Tuesday, and a few more over the rest of the summer before the hockey season starts up.

Katsube’s father, Maki, says he is just proud to see his son doing so well at his chosen summer sport.

“He has something that he is passionate about and he works hard at it,” he said. “I think he realizes that there are a few things that he needs to work on to get up to the next level, but I just like seeing him passionate about something and seeing him working so hard.”

Katsube is on the course an average of six days a week, perfecting his long and short games. Maki says the family tried to reel him in a bit earlier this summer.

“Earlier in May, we had to try and tell him not to go practice, and to take a break, so we took a vacation out to Vancouver and in the last month and a half, that he was he started posting consistently low scores. We just want him to challenge himself and do the best he can. Whatever happens, happens.”

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