Duste Weber driving far on golf course

Larry Weber has figured out a way to regain golf supremacy at home from Duste, his 10-year-old daughter.

"She beats dad consistently," he said with a laugh. "She won't anymore, though, now that I get her back to the women's tees."

It's still going to be a close call, at least judging from young Duste's performance at the 46th annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament held June 24-28 in Wichita Falls, Texas, where she finished seventh in the girls 10-year-old age group. She shot rounds of 51, 52, 53 and 52 at Archer City Country Club.

Even though this was the lowest Weber has finished in four appearances at the tournament, her scores were very respectable considering she had one adjustment to make.

"Up to this year, they had always played from the junior tees, which is pretty easy," Larry Weber said. "She was shooting low 40s and high 30s last year, but this was the first year they were shooting from the women's tees, so a par-5 was a real par-5.

Duste made her debut in the tournament with a third-place finish in the 6-year-old division in 1998, when her family lived in Wichita Falls. She finished fifth as a 7-year-old and fourth as an 8-year-old.

"If she had played the way she normally plays, she probably would have done better, but you've got to realize these are 21 very, very good 10-year-old girls playing golf. For her to finish in the top third, I thought that was excellent."

The Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament, held for boys and girls aged 6 through 18, boasts an impressive tradition that includes Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw on its list of past champions.

"It started out in 1953 as an event between Texas and Oklahoma and it's turned into a huge event that brings in players from all across the United States and several nations," Larry Weber said.

"Our family lives there so it gives us a chance to go back and visit, and she loves the tournament," he added. "She loves it. She was very sad last year when we couldn't go back."

The Jacks Valley Elementary School 5th grader showed she has a pretty good grasp of the game while working on the Eagle Valley Golf Course putting green during a recent lesson with Terry Gingell.

"She's already got an excellent attention span," Gingell said. "She comes to class each week and really practices hard and works at her golf game all the time she's here for an hour and a half. So she's definitely got the right attitude and the right attention span for, plus she's a good little athlete."

She once shot 39 for nine holes at the Weeks Park Golf Course in Wichita Falls. And two years ago, she beat her father during a round for the first time.

"She beat me straight-up," Larry Weber said. "I let her play from the 200-yard markers and I was playing from the white tees and she beat me by a stroke. I was pretty proud. She said, 'Dad, you'll never beat me again.'"

So, what is the best part of golf?

"Having fun," the 4-foot-9, 90-pounder said.

And yes, it's not uncommon for her to drive the ball 180 yards.

"I like the long game better," she said with a smile.


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