Teenage golf prodigy Kieran Urquhart, 13, from Rondebosch, has been given the opportunity to test his mettle at the Junior World Championship teen division tournament in the US.

From the tender age of 5, Kieran’s hands have all but been glued to a golf club, a passion kindled by his father, Craig Urquhart, during a day at the driving range.

Kieran has made his mark wherever he possibly could, racking up several tournament victories, including one at last year’s Junior Africa Challenge in Durban, where he took first place in his division.

The Junior World Championships take place in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and Kieran will be going overseas to compete for the first time.

In preparation for the challenge, he has been practising for more than 30 hours a week for the past three months. “It’s a lot of pressure,” he said. “You have to make sure you practise properly and practise enough, or it’s all just a waste of time.”

While he knows he’ll play against extremely talented opposition, Kieran hopes the years of experience under his belt will give him an edge.

“A lot of the other competitors have been playing those courses their entire lives, but I’ve won a couple of tournaments and I do have a few years on a lot of them,” he said.

Being a competitive golfer at such a young age is not without its challenges. Kieran is a Grade 8 pupil at Rondebosch Boys High School and has had to balance his golfing with his social life, family time and, of course, schoolwork. “It’s tough balancing all that, especially with school, but I’m not too worried about it,” he said.

Kieran’s mother, Priscilla Urquhart, is one of his biggest supporters. “Kieran has pursued his golfing dreams with absolute passion and commitment, setting himself ambitious goals. We’re delighted with our boy and his participation in his first international tournament. I know he will do his absolute best and fly the South African flag high,” she said.

The Junior World Championships will take place between July 26-28, but Kieran and his father will fly to Pinehurst this coming Monday, two weeks ahead of the competition, so Kieran can become acclimatised.

He will also practise and get used to the course.

Kieran’s strategy for the competition is to keep his mind off thoughts about victory. “My plan is to focus on having fun. I won’t put pressure on myself,” he said.