PHARR — Some athletes can spend their entire careers working to make a dream come true.
Catherine Carr, a second-grader from Pharr, recently made one of her dreams a reality as the 7-year-old golfer qualified and competed in the U.S. Kids Golf 2019 World Championships from Aug. 1-3 at Midland Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
More than 1,500 youth players from age groups ranging from 7-and-under to 12 years old from more than 50 countries competed against each other to show off their skills on the golf course. Catherine, who competed in the girls 7-and-under age group, finished in sixth place out of 47 competitors with a three-day 4-over-par, 112 total, just four strokes out of first place.
“It felt good to play there, playing golf with kids from around the world. I met new friends from all around the world. It was fun to compete,” she said.
Catherine’s interest in golf grew from seeing her father, Herman Carr, use his clubs. She always wanted to get her hands on them, so Herman and Victoria, her mother, bought Catherine a set of her own. She then began playing golf at 4 years old and first competed when she turned 6.
A true golf family, each has their own set of clubs and spend time each week together on the golf course.
“It gives us time to spend together,” her father said. “We enjoy playing and spending time together and just making the memories. She’s already beating me. It’s a proud moment seeing your little girl have a passion for a sport and doing so well in it at such a young age.”
During the weekends, all three gather around the TV to watch PGA or LGPA action whenever it’s on.
“We were very impressed with the way she made contact with the ball,” her mother said after first watching her swing. “I have a set of my own clubs like they do, and I try to hit it and it’s difficult. It’s a difficult sport. She just picked it up like nothing and made contact right away. We were just so impressed and we kept taking her and she just took off.”
Catherine first learned about the World Championships after watching “The Short Game” on Netflix, a 2013 documentary which follows 7- and 8-year-old golfers competing in the same event she would go on to play in.
She qualified by winning the Texas State Championship last June and, although it was a dream of hers to reach the USKG World Championships, she said wasn’t thinking about it much, just playing the game she loves.
“I just played the game, the game that I always play. I would describe myself as having fun anytime I play the game,” Catherine said.
She posted a 37 in Round 1, a 36 in Round 2 and a 39 in Round 3 to finish second in the U.S. and first in Texas. The first-place winner, Beau Ellington, is from Arizona, while places second through fifth traveled from Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong and Ecuador to compete.
The top-20 finishers in each age group automatically qualify for the following year’s World Championships. Next summer, she’ll do it all over again.
To keep up with Catherine’s journey, follow her on Instagram (@catherinemcarr), where she frequently posts photos and videos of her competing, practicing, and enjoying the game of golf.