Zach Hurd, 14, stands proudly with his trophy after winning a tournament in Redcliff, Alta., on Aug. 3. Submitted photo
--PRINCE ALBERT-- Prince Albert’s Zach Hurd continues to make significant strides on the junior golf scene, recently returning home from Alberta with a winners’ trophy and a boost in confidence to match.
“I played really solid, I’m hitting the ball really good right now,” said Hurd, whose outstanding 2-over 73 guaranteed his victory on Aug. 3 at the Optimist District Qualifying Tournament in Redcliff, Alta.“I’m feeling really confident with my game.”
The well-spoken 14-year-old golfing phenom has only been chipping, putting and driving balls for about six years, but felt an immediate attachment to the sport. Hurd’s father, Randy, and brother, Bretton, spurred him on.
“It was automatic,” said Hurd. “If I could play all-year round I would.”
It’s easy to discern Hurd’s passion and desire for the sport. He hits the links religiously, usually attuning his skills daily. Some find golf frustrating. Not so, for Hurd, who thrives in the tranquil environment golf offers. He said being outside relaxes him, which benefits his streamline stroke. He relishes the individuality of the sport.
“I love how the sport is all you,” said Hurd. “You kind of control how you finish out every round, you decide the breaks and how it goes.”
Hurd attributes his success on the links to Darcy Myers, who is his coach and the head professional at Cooke Municipal Golf Course. But Myers said Hurd’s success boils down to his pupils’ “good attitude.”
“He is just a really easy-going kid and doesn’t get real frustrated. He tries to stay positive. That positive frame of mind really helps him on the golf course,” said Myers, who trains with Hurd up to twice weekly.
Myers said the sky is the limit for Hurd, whose tireless work ethic and mature disposition could transcend the young golfing talent.
Hurd’s mother, Shawn, said golf has many attractive qualities, and she understands why her son cannot relinquish his grip on his irons.
“You can still be golfing when you are 85 and you can golf with anybody, you can golf with your grandpa, your best buddy, a business partner. It’s not necessarily focused to people your own age,” said Shawn. “It’s brought many good things to his life.”
With the victory in Redcliff, Hurd is guaranteed a spot in one of two high-profile tournaments next summer. He will either venture east to partake in the Optimist International Junior, in London, Ont., or south for an ocean-side tournament in Palm Beach, Florida.
Locally,Hurd’s next competition is in Waskesiu, where he will participate for the junior lobstick crown, commencing on Aug. 15.
You can follow Gary Pearson on Twitter: @newagejourno