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    Youth golfer on the fast track

    photoRyan Smith, 8, of Leesburg, placed sixth in his age division at the 2010 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship Aug. 5-7 in Pinehurst, N.C. Ryan’s father, Kevin, served as his caddie for the international event.—Photos Courtesy/Leanne Smith

    Growing up on a golf course in Leesburg, Ryan Smith began playing the sport as a 3-year-old.

    Ryan, now 8, took the skills he’s honed at River Creek Club to the 2010 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship Aug. 5-7 in Pinehurst, N.C.

    With dad Kevin serving as his caddie, and his mom Leanne and older brother Grant cheering him on, Ryan produced three quality rounds among an international field.

    Ryan shot 37, 37 and 39 for his nine-hole rounds to total 113, good for sixth place among a field of 119 boys competing in the eight-year-old division.

    “He’s always played at a very high level,” Kevin said of Ryan. “We kind of used this as a measuring stick to see how he would do [in an elite tournament]. He loved it.”

    Ryan placed fifth among United States golfers in his age group and was tops among East Coast entries. Andrew Jung (106) of San Diego won the division, while Digraj Gill (107) of India was the runner-up.

    U.S. Kids Golf 2010 World Championship hosted boys’ and girls’ ages six through 12 for the three-day event.



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