Golf pro Kim Swan hails progress made by burgeoning talent Oliver Betschart
Kim Swan, the former European Tour player and multiple Bermuda Open champion, has high expectations for young golfer Oliver Betschart.
Betschart offered another glimpse of his enormous potential after finishing tied 43rd in a field of 157 players in the boys’ 12-and-under age group at the US Kids World Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina, this month.
Starting with an 80 at the par-72 Pinehurst No 8 Course, Betschart improved as he went on — carding 77 in the second round, then leaping 19 places on the leaderboard with a closing 75 that left him 16 over par for the 54-hole tournament.
“Oliver is a child prodigy who has committed himself to golf at age 5,” Swan said. “My nickname for Oliver from Day 1 was ‘Big Jack’ — after Jack Nicklaus.
“He is beyond a shadow of a doubt an elite athlete and the product of a very supportive family who golf together as a role-model golfing family.
Betschart, who has since turned 13, admits he was left with mixed emotions with his final placing in North Carolina but was content with the valuable lessons learnt about himself from the experience.
“It was great to be with so many other children my age and from all over the world,” he said. “I was not feeling that good the day before the start, I think it was the heat. I did my best and did not want to give up.
“I was satisfied considering I was not feeling well but also disappointed because I knew I had it in me to be among the top.
“I think I probably learnt far more about digging deep to keep going when it would be so easy to withdraw.”
Betschart, who was a sign carrier for the inaugural Bermuda Championship in 2019, has been taking advantage of an opportunity to continue his development in the United States.
Swan added: “He is working with my friend, PGA Tour winner David Ogrin, at the David Ogrin Golf Academy in Texas. I am pleased that pairing him with David Ogrin has worked out.”
Betschart also competes on the Southern Texas Junior PGA, where he has achieved at least two top-three finishes this year.
Swan is delighted to see the teenager reaping the benefits from a hard work ethic.
“His success is a credit to the hard work he is putting in and the sound advice he is receiving in the development plan,” he added.
“Oliver’s strengths are his work ethic, mental attitude and heart.”