Minor division makes major mark

July 22, 2001|By TIM YANNI, Sports Writer
  • Alec Hendry putts as Rafael Quiroz looks on during the Imperial Valley Junior Golf Association's tournament at Lakeview Golf Course in Seeley on Friday. CUAUHTEMOC BELTRAN PHOTO

With scores that resembled those of much older players, some with even much more experience, the minors division of the Imperial Valley Junior Golf Association took Lakeview golf course by storm Friday when they competed in the IVJGA's fourth tournament of the year.

The minors are made up of players under age 10 and there are currently three players competing at that level.

Cristhian Marquez, a 9-year-old golfer from Mexicali took first place in the minors division Friday with a score of 45.

"I feel very good," Cristhian said through a translator of the victory.

Cristhian, who has only been golfing a year, said he likes to hit the ball.

"I enjoy watching golf on TV and I go see tournaments in San Diego with my father," Cristhian said.

He added that he became interested in the sport when he would see his father play.

"I can't beat him anymore," said Ignacio Marquez, Cristhian's father. "I shoot a 48 and he shoots a 45,: he added with a smile."


Cristhian said Tiger Woods is his favorite golfer and Woods had something to do with his growing interest for the game.

"He hits the ball very far," said Cristhian. "I like him because he's younger than the rest of the golfers."

Cristhian said he learned about the IVJGA from word of mouth at Club Campestre, the golf course in Mexicali.

Cristhian said he plays golf about once a week and he hits the driving range with the same frequency to keep his game in shape.

"I'd like to play professionally," Cristhian said. "I'd like to become a pro to win tournaments, cars, and money," he added.

Cristhian won the Junior PGA tournament in Yuma two weeks ago and is registered to compete in the Junior World Championship to be held next year in San Diego.

Rafael Quiroz, also 9-years-old and from Mexicali, took second with a score of 49.

"I like to play golf," Rafael said through a translator. "I like everything about the game.

His father, Rafael Quiroz Sr., is a professional golfer in Mexico and he said his father inspired his play.

"I saw the way my dad played and I really enjoyed it," said Rafael, who has now been playing for four years.

He said that he enjoys watching golf on TV on occasion, and, when he does, he likes to watch Tiger Woods.

"I don't watch golf on TV all the time," said Rafael, "But I do watch it every now and then."

Rafael said his father takes him to play at Club Campestre every day during his vacation.

"I'm not sure if I'd like to keep playing golf forever," Rafael said. "Because I play baseball, too."

Rafael will be competing in a Mexican national tournament in Tijuana next month.

He said his favorite golf course is Broken Spoke because it is small and he finds it a good place for a beginner.

Rafael, who also heard about the IVJGA through word of mouth, said he joined immediately because he liked the idea of competing against other golfers his own age.

Alec Hendry, a 10-year-old golfer from El Centro, took third in the tourney with a score of 65.

Alec said he joined the association because his father is an avid golfer.

"I like to see how close of a score I can get to him," said Alec of his father Ian.

"I watched it on TV and I wanted to learn how to play," Alec said. "It just seemed fun."

Alec, who has been playing golf for nearly three years, said he most enjoys playing at the Barbara Worth Country Club because of family ties to the course. He added that he enjoys the IVJGA because it gives him the opportunity to play at different courses throughout the Imperial and Mexicali Valleys.

Alec said he enjoys watching golf on TV and he is most entertained when a golfer makes up for a poor shot.

"I like it when the make bad shots and then they make a really good shot," Alec said.

This year is Alec's first in the IVJGA and he said he enjoys the competition that it brings. He added that he might like to play golf for Southwest High School when he becomes a student there.

"It's just a fun game," said Alec, who also participates in baseball and basketball. "I like playing when it's cool," he added, saying that weather can be a factor in his enjoyment of the game.

Alec scored a 64 at Friday's tournament, but his best score was a 59 that he shot at Barbara Worth.

Alec said driving is his favorite part of the game, while chipping causes him the most trouble.

Ty Yturradle won the championship division with a 67, Trevor Tagg was second with a 73 followed by Preston Soto's 77. Arturo Morales won the majors division with a 77. Daniel Cornejo was second with a 78 followed by Luis Marquez and Frankie Thomas who each carded 83's.

The IVJGA will next meet in Mexicali Friday for the International Tournament that will be held at Club Campestre.

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