The Duncan Banner
For the last year, Duncan’s Caden Stevens has done all he can to prepare for what he’s about to face this week.
Stevens will make his return to youth golf’s highest level, competing at the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship for the second straight season. The tournament will begin Thursday in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
“We’re all really excited for it. He’s going to have some fun with it, and he’s well prepared,” Caden’s father Sam Stevens said. “I keep telling him ‘Just do what you do.’ If he’s able to do that, he’ll have a chance to place really high.”
Playing in a field of 75 other golfers in his age group, the eight-year-old Stevens will tee off at 8:40 a.m. with players from China and Virginia. He’ll compete on the Pine Needles Lodge course, across the street from where he teed off a year ago.
In last year’s tournament, Caden took fourteenth place in his age group.
And he’s been dying to get back and improve on that result ever since.
The Stevens arrived at Pinehurst Friday and have been staying busy. Caden played with Sam in a Father/Son Tournament Monday and took fourth out of 25 teams and has been playing in practice rounds leading up to the main event.
“None of the kids have been missing fairways so far, and the green have been pretty fast,” Stevens said.
Also included is a tournament parade, where the golfers and their families will spend the night downtown and competitors from around the world will carry the flag of their native country.
It’s all the culmination of months of mornings at the tee box.
“He’s been playing at plenty of tournament on the youth tour all summer,” Stevens said. “Because of that, he’s a lot more confident in his game. He’s a year older now, and more mature than he was playing at this event last year.”
Area residents were once again able to held Caden reach his goal of competing at the tournament, raising more than $1,000 at the second annual Team Caden Classic Scramble June 1 at the Twin Oaks Golf Course.