Nine-Year-Old Karah Sanford Victorious at U.S. Kids World Golf Championships

6 years ago

What did your kid do this summer? Mine watched TV, went to the mall, started a couple of projects and complained about either how hot it was or how bored they were. 

Karah Sanford's parents, however, have a different tale to tell.

Their daughter, a nine-year-old golf phenom, traveled from San Diego to North Carolina to compete in the 2011 U.S. Kids World Golf Championships.

Played at thePinehurst Resort, home of American golf, the three-day World Championships is the largest and most prestigious event for players 12 and under featuring more than 1200 young golfers from 39 countries and 48 states.

Karah, who has been playing golf since she was five, aspires to become the youngest golfer ever to make the U.S. Women’s Open. Given how she performed this summer  - and considering the nearly 100 trophies she's won to date - making the cut doesn't seem that far-fetched.


Victorious in her division at the U.S. Kids World Golf Championships, here's a recap of Sandord's three rounds.

Round One - Girls 9

A year after being defeated in a playoff at the World Championship, Karah Sanford, of Escondido, Calif. came out swinging at Longleaf Golf and Country Club.  Sanford put up a 5-under-par 31 to take a strong four-stroke lead into the second round. Three players were tied at 1-under-par 35, including 2010 World Champion Emilie Alba Paltrinieri of Italy. Also posting 35s were Mohan Du of China and Agustina Gomez Cisterna of Argentina. Maria Fernanda Martinez and Cordelia Lopez, both of Mexico, were tied for fifth at even-par 36.

Round Two - Girls 9

Sanford  continued her assault on the Girls 9 division, as she fired a 3-under-par 33 to back up her first-round 5-under-par 31. At 8-under-par 64 for the tournament, she moved eight strokes clear of her nearest competitor. Sanford birdied three of her first four holes and parred her way home to make it 18 bogey-free holes. 2010 champion Emilie Alba Paltrinieri led a group of three players tied for second place at even-par 72 for the tournament. Paltrinieri and Mohan Du of China shot 1-over-par 37 to get to 72, while Christine Wang of Houston matched Sanford's low score at 3-under-par 33. Wang eagled two of the three par-5s that she faced. Cordelia Lopez of Mexico tied with Maria Camila Moreno Sanabria of Colombia for fifth place at 1-over-par 73 for the tournament.

Round Three - Girls 9

Young Sanford  took nothing for granted on Saturday, the last day of the tournament, as she fired a 4-under-par 32 to win the World Championship by eight strokes. She entered the final round with an eight-shot lead and continued to solidify her position on top, as she was 3-under-par through three holes and finished the tournament at 12-under-par 96. Emilie Alba Paltrinieri, who won the Girls 8 division in 2010, made a charge with a final-round 32 of her own, but Sanford never gave an inch. Paltrinieri finished alone in second at 4-under-par 104. Christine Wang of Houston finished under-par as well, ten strokes back of Sanford. Mogan Du of China, Michaela Morard of Huntsville, Ala., and Suzuka Yagi of Japan tied for fourth place at 1-over-par 109.

Stroke of Genius

In all three days of tournament play, Karah was bogey-free. She played 27 holes with 16 pars, 10 birdies, and one eagle...

When she isn't on the golf course you can usually find Karah hanging out with friends and family, or exchanging tweets with last years U.S. Women's Open Champion, Paula Creamer, who contacted her after reading an article in a 2010 Golfweek article  in which Karah referred to Creamer as a great role model and her favorite LPGA player. Since then, Creamer has been a source of encouragement and has sent her young fan a bevy of pink golf balls, umbrellas, and bags. 

Be sure to follow this little studette on Twitter at @karahsanford and watch for her to take on her idol sometime in the near future.

In the meantime, check out this Day in the Life video and see what you think.


Images and recap reprinted with permission from



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