11-Year-Old Golf Phenom Still Racking up Wins

Sihan Sandhu, the Ashburn elementary schooler who made headlines in August by smashing the record score at the U.S. Kids Golf 2016 World Championship, continues to dominate tournaments.

Sandhu came from behind at the U.S. Kids Golf Copperhead Classic January 14 and 15, finishing the first day four strokes behind the leader, Kareem El-Kassem from North Carolina, with 71 strokes. By the end of the second day, Sandhu had improved to 67 strokes, winning the tournament by three.

Even that, said his father Ruby Sandhu, wasn’t Sihan in top form.

“He was a little rusty,” Ruby Sandhu said. Sihan hadn’t played much over winter: “I wish he would have putted a little better. He could have won by a larger margin.”

Sandhu has played against El-Kassem before. In December, he played against the slightly older El-Kassem in the Donald Ross Jr. Championship at Pinehurst in North Carolina, the same course where Sihan broke the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship record. Sandhu and El-Kassem tied in the 11-years-old-and-under category after 36 holes. El-Kassem edged out Sandhu for the win after two playoff holes, but Sandhu’s second round score of 69 strokes had been the low score for the age group in that tournament.

Sihan Sandhu practices at the 1757 Golf Club. (Renss Greene/Loudoun Now)

Sihan, who was 10 when he broke the world championship record and turned 11 in November, continues to show the same good graces and confidence on the course.

“I think the most amazing part was the way he kind of kept his temperament, and I could see that, even though he was four strokes behind the leaders,” his father said.

Sihan also won against adults in the Fall 2016 DesiGolf tournament at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Virginia. He placed first in the singles flight with 78 strokes.

Playing against larger kids—such as El-Kassem, who is taller and drives further—or even adults isn’t a problem for Sihan, his father said.

“That doesn’t bother him,” Ruby Sandhu said. “I think he understood that if he played good golf, then he’s going to be in contention. … Now he’s kind of figured out, ‘I’ve got to play my game. If he’s longer, so be it.’”

rgreene@loudounnow.com
@RenssGreene

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