Golf: Alexander could be great

When Alexander Yang was 4 he went to the driving range with his father and mother, and eventually he complained.

Yang didn't whine because he wanted to leave.

"He used to cry and say, 'it's my turn to hit the ball,'" said Nancy Wong, Yang's mother.

Soon enough, Yang was striking golf balls, and with precision. Now at 10 he's become one of the top golfers in the nation for his age group. You could actually say the Newport Coast resident is the best in the world among his peers.

Yang won the boys' 9-10 crown at the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships Friday at the Welk Resort San Diego Fountains Executive Course. He won by one stroke after shooting a five-under-par 181 (60-57-64), and sank 13 birdies in the tournament.

He also won the San Diego Junior Masters event July 12 in the boys' 9-10 division. He shot even on the first of two days and finished with -4 on his final round. He collected six birdies in each round.

"That was my goal to win both of them this year," said Yang, a Mesa Verde Country Club member. "I had to practice really hard on the golf courses [Welk Resort and St. Mark's Golf Club for the Junior Masters] and work on my game a lot on all aspects. I practiced every day on those two courses."

Yang, who attends Van Damme Academy in Aliso Viejo, is no stranger to practice. His mother says there have been times when he practices into the night.

"He would make me go out to the golf course until it was pitch dark," Wong said. "He would cry when I took him home. He wakes up and that's all he wants to do."

Yang can drive the ball about 230 yards, Wong said, longer than his mother.

Yang enjoys many activities kids his age do, but there's no denying his passion for golf.

"This is his love, the love of his life," Wong said.

That love can be traced to that day when Yang went to the driving range with Wong and his father, Richard Yang.

Ever since, he's fallen in love with the game.

Shortly after starting a beginner junior golfers program, instructors told Wong Alexander was ready to hit out on the course.

Alexander continued to yearn for more chances to improve and opportunities to learn. After winning the two recent titles, he wants more.

He'll go for another when he plays in the U.S. Kids World Championships at Pinehurst, N.C. Aug. 1-3.

Yang appears to remain a kid at heart even amid the success, which also includes winning numerous tournaments on the SCPGA Junior Tour, U.S. Kids Local Tour and Future Champions Tour.

He looks up to pro golfers, as his favorites are Adam Scott and Justin Rose.

"They have really nice swings and they are really smooth," he says. "Their whole game is really solid."

Away from the golf course, Alexander says he likes to ski and play soccer. He plays for the AYSO Extra Corona del Mar team.

He admits he's not much into movies, but he did enjoy, "Despicable Me 2," recently.

If there's a sign of his maturity at a young age, he says his favorite band is The Beatles.

Of course there are aspirations to become a pro, but Alexander appears to remain hungry and humble about reaching the goal.

"School is first," he says. "My goal is to try to get into Stanford and if I get there I'm going to try out for the golf team."

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