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Leseur on mission to reach the PGA Tour

Kenny Leseur is not having a typical summer, doing what 12-year-olds do.

The talented young golfer is on a mission, and next week makes his third golf-related trip of the summer, this time to South Carolina to attend the International Junior Golf Academy Camp in Hilton Head Island. Funding for the camp came in April when Leseur was a recipient of the Government's Junior Athlete Scholarship Programme, receiving $3,674 to attend the week-long camp.

Last month Leseur, the 2015 junior national champion, competed in the Junior Open Championship in Kilmarnock, Scotland where he missed the cut after two rounds.

After that he went to the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where he won the longest drive competition in his (12-13) age group against 96 other players. He tied for 34th out of 97 golfers in the tournament.

In the longest drive competition Leseur beat a player from South America who set the mark with his drive of 283 yards. Leseur, with his last attempt, drove his ball 292 yards.

“It was really cool to do that, especially on my last ball,” said Leseur whose father, Kenny Sr, was also a talented young golfer in his day.

“Next year he's looking to do even better because he's going to be in the same division and on the same course,” said his dad. “He didn't come back empty-handed as he won the longest drive contest in his age group.

“They had qualifying during the practice round and the top three qualified [for the final]. Each had three balls in the final and he went last and beat it with his last ball.”

Kenny Jr competed in the 10-11 age group last year, placing 37th, but feels the experience had put him in good stead for this year.

“I think I had a better look at the competition and it did improve my game a little bit, he said. “Even though the competition is not as strong here, I knew what I had to shoot for a reasonable score out there.”

Now Leseur will leave on Saturday for the camp in South Carolina, aiming to continue improving his game.

“We're doing everything we can to get him exposed, golf is so expensive,” said his father.

“When we go to the golf camp we'll have a tour of the school up there, a school for education and golf, and next year when he's 13 we might be able to send him away to school. They play golf every day, school work in the morning and then golf. It's like a boarding school with golf.”

Leseur would one day like to follow Michael Sims and Camiko Smith and play regularly overseas.

“I'm hoping to take it all the way to the PGA Tour, or web.com or European Tour,” he said.

Said his father: “I was going out of junior golf just as Michael was coming in. Camiko is a good friend of his, they play together sometimes at Port Royal.

“He's definitely got the potential, Kim Swan is his teacher and sees a lot in him.

“He has the experience of playing and teaching golf.

“Kenny joined the [BGA] junior golf programme when he was seven-years-old. The president of the Bermuda Junior Golf Association said over the last four years he is the one who is there every Saturday to play golf, competes in all the tournaments and wasn't scared to play with the bigger boys.

“I was a junior champion when I was young, too, even have clippings from The Royal Gazette when I was 15, 16.

“My granny used to cut out the clippings whenever they wrote something about me.”

Leseur added: “I never pushed him, he used to play football and did that for about a year and a half. One day he came home and said ‘daddy, I want to try golf', so we went out.

“Belmont has always been a good golf course for the juniors, they let them play for free there, and when I was a junior that was our main hub.

“He showed potential right away and Cornell Bean was the first pro to take him under his wing and help him out. After that we went up to Port Royal so he could play in the Sunday tournaments with the members and that's when he joined up with Kim who was happy to take him.”

Leseur Sr has fond memories of playing in a junior tournament overseas in 1980 or 81 when he competed in the Junior World Tournament at Torrey Pines in San Diego, California and John Daly, now a PGA Tour player, was his playing partner for two days.

“Five years later I was watching a golf tournament on television and they showed John Daly playing.”

Maybe young Kenny can make similar strides.

Like father, like son: Kenny Leseur Jr with his dad, who was also a junior golf champion (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published August 03, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 03, 2016 at 8:23 am)

Leseur on mission to reach the PGA Tour

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