Nine-year-old Aliana driving for success in US
ALIANA Manderson is playing the best golf of her young career as she prepares to tee off in two international events in the United States.
The nine-year-old will represent Australia in the World Stars of Junior Golf in Las Vegas (July 17-21) and the AAU West Coast Junior Olympic Games in California (July 25-29).
Yeppoon's Scott brothers - Caleb, 17, Ben, 14, and Aidan, 9 - also qualified for the tournaments which involve male and female players in age divisions from six through to 18.
Aliana is the first member of the Rockhampton Golf Club to make the cut for the US events and she is excited at the prospect of competing against golfers of her age from across the globe.
"I'm a bit nervous but I feel pretty good," she said during a practice round at the Rockhampton course.
"I'm looking forward to playing on the hard courses and getting to meet new people from different places.
"I think the toughest player will be from Canada. I've seen videos of her and she can drive about the same length as me."
Aliana says driving is the strongest area of her game, and she can hit on average about 150m.
Mum Amanda is Aliana's caddy and she will be with the rising star in America.
"At the moment she's excited and because her game is going very well she's quite relaxed but we'll see when we get there and do a few practice rounds," Amanda said before the pair jetted out yesterday.
"She's been to America before but not to the places where these tournaments are being played so they're new destinations for her."
Amanda said Aliana first tried her hand at golf about three and a half years ago. She played for about six months before deciding the game wasn't for her.
"Then about two years ago she said, 'Mum, I would like to go back and play golf again' and now we're out at the course six days a week."
Aliana, who plays off a handicap of 26 over nine holes, said there was much she enjoyed about golf.
"I like being out in the fresh air and seeing all the animals, because I love animals and just playing the game," she said.