Fleta Page June 05, 2012
Josh Armstrong at the European Championships last year.
Canberra's Josh Armstrong is the best 12-year-old golfer in the country according to his coach at Gold Creek Golf Club, Steve Whitelock.
''I know it's a big statement, and a biased one,'' Whitelock admitted, but he said the results suggested the same thing. ''There was one other 12-year-old in the national [under-18] juniors this year, and Josh played against him and beat him.''
Last November, Armstrong won the 12 years division of the Australian PGA Pump Golf tournament at Coolum, finishing nine shots ahead of two New Zealanders.
He backed up that result in January, winning the 12 and under division of the annual Jack Newton junior golf tournament in Sydney by 13 shots.
Armstrong, whose current handicap is 1.7, will test himself this week against some of the best 12 year olds in the world at the European junior championships in Scotland, one of the top junior golf tournaments. He teed off in the first round overnight.
The Burgmann School student finished third there in 2010, after leading in to the final round, and 11th last year.
A top-10 finish this week will earn him an invite to the world junior championship in San Diego, California in July.
''He's a short game specialist, he's got the hands of Seve [Ballesteros] and I wouldn't say he's a long bomber, but he certainly hits it a fair distance off the tee for a 12-year-old,'' Whitelock said of Armstrong's 250-metre drive.
''As he grows into his size 13 feet, and his gangly body, he's going to hit it a country mile!''
Whitelock has been coaching Armstrong since he was six, but he'd already been playing the game for a number of years under the tutelage of his father, David, a scratch marker, and former club champion at Gold Creek - a feat Josh almost replicated last month when he finished third against more than 60 A-grade senior players. ''Josh has been swinging golf clubs almost from the minute he could stand up,'' David said.