Loudoun Judge Bars 10-year-old Golfer from Competing

A Loudoun judge has told a 10-year-old girl who’s been described as a prodigy on the golf course she cannot compete.

The girl is at the center of a custody battle between her two parents, Michael Vechery and Florence Cottet-Moine.

As part of a custody order filed June 7, Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge Irby ruled that their daughter could not play competitive golf for one year.

That’s a big deal for a kid who’s winning golf tournaments up and down the East Coast, and has her sights set on a professional career on the golf course. The Washington Post reported last fall that she won the all-ages women’s division 2015 club championships for Algonkian Golf Course in Sterling. She shot an 84 on the first 18-hole round she’d ever played. Young golfers typically play 9-hole tournaments.

Last year, she won 15 out of the 19 tournaments in which she competed, Vechery said.

“I don’t think there’s anybody, at her age and at 68 pounds, who’s played the amount of golf she’s played and has played the way that she has,” Vechery said.

Adam Harrell, with Elite Performance Golf Academy in Leesburg, said the girl’s father is her primary coach, but he has given the girl a lesson or two.

“She’s having a lot of success,” he said. “She wins everything in her age group. She’s a good young player.”

It’s unclear why Judge Irby banned the girl from competing on the course. The custody order read: “[the girl] shall not be permitted to play competitive golf for one year. Competitive golf is defined by the court as no tournaments and no lessons with any golf pro with the exception of the Father. The Father and [daughter] may play no more than one (1) round of golf per week or five (5) hours with putting and practice whichever is greater.”

Vechery said he and his daughter are most upset that the custody ruling means less time together.

The order gives the mother, Cottet-Moine, sole legal custody and primary physical custody of her daughter.

Jonathan Rochkind, Cottet-Moine’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.