July 15, 2014

Eighth-grader in hunt at Fort Worth junior girls golf championship

Trinity King, 12, trails leader Erica Lautensack by five shots.

Arlington eighth-grader Trinity King is only 12, but she knows something about playing quality golf course greens.

When those greens are at Augusta National Golf Club, that doesn’t hurt, either.

King overcame some shaky green reads in the second round to draw within five shots of leader and defending champion Erica Lautensack at the Fort Worth junior girls championship Tuesday at Ridglea Country Club.

King said her experience in the National Pitch, Putt and Drive Championship at Augusta last April helped her steady the putter.

“They were fast,” she said. “I mis-read downhill putts all day long, and on one I had a 15-foot putt, then a 30-footer, then a 6-footer and finally a tap-in. I kept a good attitude, though, considering how I thought things might go this week.”

King’s second-round 79 gave her a 36-hole total of 155 and moved her into the final pairing with Lautensack and Crowley’s Kyong Kim.

The threesome will settle things beginning at 9:12 a.m. Wednesday at River Crest Country Club. Kim is another shot back at 156.

King said her digital-age assessment of the course helped Tuesday when she rebounded from a back-nine bogey with a birdie on the following hole.

“I get down on myself when I hit a bad shot, and I had to recover from that,” she said. “I wasn’t able to play a practice round, but I studied the course by looking at Google Earth.”

Such simplicity helped King to second place entering the final round.

Lautensack backed up an opening 73 with a 77 and sits at 150 overall.

She had one birdie on Ridglea’s firm and fast greens. King had one birdie on her card at No. 11.

King said she’s comfortable with her position and gauging her performance against older players.

“I think this proves it’s not really about age. It’s about skill,” King said. “I thought I was going to be the short knocker out here, but I actually was up there with the other girls.”

King spent last week at the Texas-Mexico Cup in San Antonio and said her experience there and at Augusta taught her a new way of preparing for tournaments.

“My dad and I played somewhere new every other day and then we went to the range the next day that whole week,” she said. “So it was relaxing and not as stressful. When I got back from San Antonio, I did hit balls, but I had two birthday parties in between. At least my friends play golf, so we talked about how we did at Texas-Mexico and we just caught up because we hadn’t seen each other in so long.”

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