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When did you start playing golf?

Well, I just started when I was 13 months old.

How does that "just" happen?

My dad just let me pick the club up and just go.

Do you even remember it?

No.

Your parents used to move the furniture so you could play inside, but not any more. Why not?

Because our rule is no golfing in the house. It happened when I, like, hit something and broke it. It was so far back, I don’t even know what it was.

So you won the 2008 SHAPE Akehurst Bowl. Who were you up against, and how did you do it?

There were 50 people, adults and juniors. I scored 42 Stableford points. Stableford points are like, if you par a certain hole, you get points for it. With my handicap I’d have 4 points for par on a hole. So you play 18 and add it up. I only won by 1 point.

And your handicap is?

32.5 — I just got it. It used to be 36.

Was that your first victory?

No, I had one before that against all my junior competition — that was in April. At that point I was ranked No. 1 in three age groups. Like, I was beating 12-year-olds. This is in Belgium — I’m the only American out there in juniors.

What’s your best round ever?

Stroke – well, on nine holes, six over par. On 18, 11 or 12 over.

Do you ever play your dad?

Yeah. I beat him once, so I’m hanging that score card up in my room, just like he did. When he first beat his dad, he hung his score card up in his room. He was 34 years old then. I was 7 when I beat my dad.

You must be playing all the time to be so good.

Well, once a week maybe either nine holes, or maybe 18 or just going out to the range. I have school five days a week, so I only get out on the weekends one day because my mom wants us to spend one day with family.

How are you so good with so little time on the course?

I have a big, big backyard, so I practice on that with my wedge, and that’s basically how I get my swing. But I can’t hit balls — well, I can hit a ball, but only with a sand wedge. So I can just work on my swing.

Sounds like a lot of work. What do you want to do with golf?

Beat Jack Nicklaus’ record — or Tiger’s. Be the best golfer that ever lived. That’s my goal.

William Hartford

Age: 8

Day job: Child, entering the third grade

Claim to fame: Golf champ at SHAPE in Belgium

Interview conducted by Matt Millham. Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary — even, dare we say, oddball? Send the person’s name and contact information to: news@estripes.osd.mil.


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