Cory DeSilva basked in his maiden HSBC National Championships success and then turned his focus to carving out a career in the sport.
The 17-year-old won the junior tournament at Belmont Hills on Saturday, beating Mikus Ming in the 36-hole final on the first extra hole. The win meant he was in attendance at sponsors HSBC’s Harbourview branch on Monday as organizers drummed up interest in their Summer of Golf programme.
Having just graduated from Warwick Academy, DeSilva is on his way to Troy University, Alabama, in August to study Computer Information Systems and to play golf for a year’s trial period as a registered freshman.
It’s all designed to get him used to a higher level of the game. “I am very excited,” he told the Bermuda Sun. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
He added: “Winning the nationals felt like a dream come true to me.”
DeSilva is a relatively late starter to the game, taking it up at 13 after being introduced to the sport by his cousin Chaka DeSilva, who is the pro at Mid Ocean.
“It was hard,” said the younger DeSilva, “ and I just wanted to get better.
“That’s always the case for me. Even though I won the national championships on Saturday, on Sunday I was out practising, hitting balls, trying to find a way to improve.”
DeSilva defeated defending champion Walker Campbell on the final hole in the semi-final after a birdie-filled battle.
Then the final turned into a test of stamina on a searingly hot day.
“It was stressful,” he said. “Trying to win the national championship... it was tough.
“We had a group in front of us and it was really slow.
“The playoff hole was very nervy and I think we were both shaking coming down the last.
“But to win was great, you get that title for a year and everyone in the game of golf in Bermuda knows you now, so it opens a lot of doors. I go into every tournament thinking I can win, so I trusted my game and it happened to work out this time.”
DeSilva says his strength is his ability to put the ball in play and create birdie chances. But he admits his short game and putting need work.
“I need to get the putts dropping a bit more.
“It’s just that you have to be really precise and once I get that precision, I’ll be able to lower my scores.
“That’s definitely what I will improve on going to Troy in August.”
If he passes his trial year at Troy, DeSilva will then be playing NCAA Division One golf. It will be another step towards his goal of a golf career and the ultimate ambition, playing on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods remains his idol, although he also follows the likes of Major winners Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose.
“They are very consistent players and seem to always be on top of the leaderboard and if you do that, you are going to be a successful golfer.”
The HSBC Summer Golf Camp is already under way, while there is a Family Fun Day on Saturday at Dockyard. The Summer Tour for ages five to 18 for camp participants and Bermuda Junior Gold Association gets under way from July 15 at Riddell’s Bay and Tucker’s Point.
Finally, there is the HSBC Week of Golf from August 25, which is played at Tucker’s Point, The Mid-Ocean Club, Port Royal Golf Course and Turtle Hill Golf Course.
For more information, contact the BJGA at firstname.lastname@example.org