THE year 2015 could easily pass as the best year for top Zimbabwe junior golfer Kieran Vincent after he kicked it off by establishing himself among the top young players on the globe.
Vincent finished sixth on his debut at the 51st Junior Orange Bowl International Golf Championship in the United States in January last year.
He also proceeded to guide Zimbabwe to 12th place at the Japan Toyota Junior World Cup, while also finishing 13th out of a field comprising 60 of the world’s best junior golfers in June, before winning two awards at the Zimbabwe Golf Awards ceremony.
Three weeks ago, Vincent again displayed his penchant for the global stage when he returned to the Orange Bowl to finish an impressive seventh on the overall standings — nine shots off the winner Kristoffer Reitan of Norway.
Twice in a row, the 18-year-old finished in the top 10 at the premier world junior golf event, which is no mean feat and rightfully so, the young golfer revels in both his Orange Bowl performances.
“Just participating in the Orange Bowl has been a dream for me for many years; so not only to be a part of the tournament but also to play some of my best golf there feels good,” he told Standardsport.
“I can’t exactly put the feelings into words but I can describe it as being cherishable as this tournament is the climax of what any young golfer desires.
“I feel I still have got a lot of golf to prove to the world, but these Orange Bowl performances helped me to start making a name for myself and hopefully I can carry these qualities into the new year  and beyond.” ]
The ZGA Most Improved Male Golfer and Male Junior Golfer of the Year is Scott Vincent, elder brother to Kieran — another top golfer who — turned professional last year following a superb showing in US collegiate golf for four years since 2011.
Kieran’s childhood dream is to one day wear the green jacket awarded to the winner of the Masters, which is one of the four prestigious Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour.
Quite a lofty goal for a young player coming from Zimbabwe who, however, refuses to get ahead of himself in a bid to achieve his ultimate dream.
“It’s always been my ultimate dream donning the green jacket, but at this stage I am trying to take one step at a time and complete my termly goals which I set for myself and not get too far ahead of myself. And yes, I do believe you have a chance at anything if you put your mind to it,” Kieran said.
Having been at the top as a junior in Zimbabwe, Vincent is set to take his golf sojourns to another level in August after having been snapped up by Virginia-based Liberty University where he will play golf for the next four years.
“I intend to play collegiate golf and I have already signed with Liberty University in the US and I am set to begin in August. I’m really excited about this next chapter in my life and hopefully all will go very well,” he said.
His brother Scott contends that Kieran is the better golfer of the two brothers. Scott excelled in US collegiate golf, breaking records and winning big events for Virginia Tech University. It remains to be seen how Kieran will fare.
So far, he seems to have comfortably filled the boots left by his elder brother.
“Well, I wouldn’t say it’s comfortable following in his footsteps because it feels like he has left some extremely large shoes to fill,” he chuckled
“Honestly, my brother has been a big help to me over the years. He has always been there when I needed someone to talk to, guided me through a couple of rocky patches and even showed me ropes on many occasions. But most of all, just seeing what he has been able to accomplish over the years has motivated me even more.”
Only last week, Scott made a strike in his fresh professional career when he won the exclusive rights to compete on the lucrative Asian Tour this year after finishing second at the Asian Tour Qualifying School final stage at the Springfield Royal Country Club in Bangok, Thailand.
Kieran believes that there is plenty of talent in the Zimbabwe junior ranks with players who have the potential to be world-beaters having been part of the local junior golf system for quite a while.
“There are others in the junior ranks who have put their hand up here in Zimbabwe. The likes of David Amm, Justin Kersten, Danielle Bekker, Emily Jones and Margaret Nyamukondiwa, just to name a few. They are the stars of the future,” he said.
“I just hope they will be able to gain international exposure on a more regular basis and challenge the best in the world more regularly as that’s when their true colours will be able to shine through and they will be able to learn where their attributes lie in their game.”
Kieran has been playing golf for as long as he can remember and knows no other sport. He, however, did not choose golf himself as his father decided his son would play the sport when he was just a toddler.
He vaguely remembers how it all started.
“I think I’ve been playing this game for about 15 years now. I still remember when my dad bought me my first club, a cut down three iron, when we were on holiday in Nyanga and since then I have just grown in this sport,” he said.