An 11-year-old Rossland golfer makes his debut on the world stage this week at a course reknowned as “the Cradle of American Golf.”
Xander Bankes’ brief but stunning golf career has propelled him to the first tee of the Old South Course at the iconic Pinehurst Golf Course in North Carolina, where he will tee off today in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship.
“Just to have the experience of going to a big event, a world-wide event, with people from all over the world – I don’t think I’m going to win, but just the experience I think will be good,” said Xander.
Over 1,5000 golfers ages seven-to-12 will play in the event, with Xander teeing off in the 11-year-old boys category against 144 of the World’s best in his age group. He qualified for the World event at his first Maple Leaf Junior Tour (MJT) competition at Morgan Creek Golf Course in Surrey Apr. 9-10, finishing eighth overall.
“We got the email, and it said ‘You qualified,’ and we went ‘You did what?’” said Xander’s mom Fiona Martin.
But the young prodigy improved on that result last month when he won the MJT Ford Tour championship at the Harvest Golf Course in Kelowna with a 5-over par 77. It was the first MJT victory for Xander who only began competing last year, although he has been hitting golf balls at the range from the age of two.“It was really exciting and I had lots of fun, and feel proud of myself that I won a big one,” said Xander.