CELINE Abalos is set to represent the Philippines in two of the biggest world amateur golf tournaments.
With solid play in the US Kids Golf World Championship in Malaysia, Abalos booked a ticket to the US Kids Golf European Championships in Scotland and the US Kids Worlds in North Carolina next season, a big jump after taking starting to compete only nine months ago.
“We are very impressed with her progress,” coach Carmelette Villaroman said of her ward, who turned nine on Sunday.
“She has the best attitude a coach could hope for. She is a fighter who never wants to give up.”
The youngest in a brood of five of ex-Rep Benhur Abalos and Mandaluyong Mayor Menchie, Celine finished second to Thailand’s Namo Luangnitikul in the Girls’ 8-and up division at the Straits Course of the Tanjong Puteri Resort in Malaysia to earn spot to the two elite events.
Celine shot rounds of 37, 36 and that 38, five-over in total, falling short of the championship by three strokes.
But Villaroman stressed the importance of marching on to the bigger events where the youngster can put her skills to the test once again.
A total of 312 players from 26 countries including Australia and the United States participated in the Malaysia tournament.
“She wants this,” said Villaroman, the former Ladies Open and Philippine Ladies champ who caddied for Celine. “I have never asked her to train. She wants to do this and that’s a big plus.”
Celine first picked up a club in 2016 but seriously got into the game only this year. She competed in her first event last March and has been asking her parents to enter her into junior events weekly since then.