During the six weeks of the Junior Tour for golfers aged 6-18, divided into three different brackets, Bowie resident and rising Bishop McNamara junior Kirsten Vanderhorst eventually emerged as the top points earner in the competitive 14-18 bracket. We had the chance to ask her about her recent success.
Enquirer-Gazette: In addition to winning the Junior Tour 14-18 title, what did you enjoy most about playing in those events?
Vanderhorst: One thing I loved about this tournament was the opportunity to compete on an all-star team. Over the course of the six weeks I accumulated the most points which automatically earned me a spot for both the Maryland and Florida championships. I liked having to work towards a bigger goal in addition to placing on the weekly scoreboards.
Enquirer-Gazette: When did you begin playing golf and what do you enjoy most about the sport?
Vanderhorst: I started casually playing around the age of six and started playing competitively when I was about nine. What I enjoy most when playing is the feeling of a pure crisp shot from the fairway. It just feels so effortless where that one shot is affirmation that I’m on the right track.
Enquirer-Gazette: With two more years of high school golf remaining, what are you hoping to accomplish during those seasons with Bishop McNamara?
Vanderhorst: In my last two years at McNamara I hope to hone in [and] truly dedicate myself to the game and my studies. These last two years are absolutely crucial to my collegiate future and I want to make sure that when I look back I know that I gave it my all inside of the classroom and on the course, giving my all and being content with my performance regardless of where my peers stand, as we all have different directions for our futures.
Enquirer-Gazette: What aspect of your game is your strength and what is the one thing you want to work on most before the next season?
Vanderhorst: I think my strength is definitely being a proficient ball striker. I make pretty consistent contact on the course. On the other hand, I’ve noticed over the past year that my short game is still evolving and that I’m still finding the patterns that complement my game.
Enquirer-Gazette: Who have been the biggest influences on you as a golfer and what are some of the most important things you have learned from them along the way?
Vanderhorst: My biggest influences have definitely been my parents. Their personalities are those that easily get over conflict and move on with the day. I’ve tried to learn from this and apply it to the golf course when I’m not playing as well as I would like to; basically hit the shot, acknowledge that it wasn’t the best, stop worrying and move on.