At 13 years old, Nanaimo's Shirin Anjarwalla is already well on her way to achieving her goal to become a professional golfer.
The young phenom placed fourth in the 16-and-under B.C. Juvenile Girls' Championships on Tuesday, Aug. 20 with a 7-over-223. Anjarwalla had headed into the last round with a oneshot lead but ultimately finished three strokes back after a 76-shot third round.
After shooting under par in the second round, Anjarwalla felt the pressure mount when she found herself in first place atop the tournament's leader board.
"The first round was okay, four over par, not the best but okay; it was not the worst thing I've done. Second round I went under par and after that you could feel the pressure, heading into the third round and leading by only one shot," she said. "Third round was kind of a shaky start. It was all over the map."
Anjarwalla can be found almost every day practicing at the Beban Park Golf Club, launching balls at the driving range and honing her skills with her coach Isaac Weintraub.
She began a career in golf at the age of six, when she would hit the rounds with her brothers, now 22 and 24, using a set of plastic clubs.
Soon the consistency came, as well as the realization that she had a special kind of talent.
"I started competing when I was 10, really short courses, small par-threes. I kind of gradually got to longer courses," she said.
Anjarwalla has been the Zone 6 girls junior-of-the-year for two straight campaigns.
This season she followed up a strong Zone 6 spring tour with a summer packed full of tournament wins. After claiming nine titles this summer, she went on to claim her second junior-of-theyear honours.
As someone who practices regularly - even in the snow, if need be - it would seem that one of Anjarwalla's greatest assets is her dedication and focus on reaching new heights.
"I want to go maybe, play golf for the rest of my life, or (use it to) go to school somewhere. I have to put in the time," she said. "Sometimes it feels like I'm tired and I don't really want to, but I know it's going to pay off, so I do."
She hopes to qualify for the 2014 B.C. Summer Games, which are being hosted by Nanaimo.
The young golfer is also well aware of her sport's inclusion in the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"I want to at least try to do something like that. I want to stick with some of these (provincial and Vancouver Island) tournaments as practice and I also want to play some Canadian juniors national tournaments," she said.
In no uncertain terms, Anjarwalla said she wants to go pro as a golfer.
Beban Park Golf Course manager Harvey Hurd has watched the young star grow into a very skilled and gifted competitor.
He said the defining feature of her game so far has been a dedication and maturity that is difficult to find among rivals. "She's as good as anybody with her shots, as good as anybody that played in that (juvenile girls' championships) tournament - better than most," said Hurd. "It's the little mental mistake here, little mental mistake there that she'll get over. .. A couple good breaks instead of bad ones, like any golf tournament."
Anjarwalla is back at it again Monday and Tuesday for the 14-and-under B.C. Bantam Girls' Championship at the Qualicum Memorial Golf Club.
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