Eight-year-old golfer Anna Wu on her way to Augusta

She is a pint-sized pixie. But with big dreams.

Chief among them is to meet Tiger Woods.

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Anna Wu might get a chance to do just that this spring at Augusta National in Georgia, where there have known to be a few Tiger sightings.

The eight-year-old Royal Colwood junior member qualified as one of three Canadians for the 80-player field in the sixth annual Drive, Chip and Putt championship to take place in Augusta on April 5, a week before Woods attempts to defend his Masters title there.

“I think Tiger is awesome,” Wu said.

And she knows her golf with an acumen beyond her years.

“He tied Sam Snead’s record,” said Wu, referring to Woods tying Snead’s record of 82 career PGA Tour victories in October.

Not that Wu is doing too badly herself in her age group. She qualified for Augusta by winning a regional Drive, Chip and Putt competition recently at Chambers Bay in Washington state. It was part of a long process that began last May at more than 300 venues throughout the U.S. The top-three finishers at each of those initial events advanced to 60 sub-regional qualifiers through the summer. The top two in each division in those tournaments advanced to the 10 regional championships in the fall held on prestigious courses that have hosted U.S. Opens or PGA Championships, such as Chambers Bay.

There are girls’ and boys’ age categories. Wu is in 7-9-year-old girls. The other Canadians to make it to Augusta are Alexis Card of Cambridge, Ont., also in girls’ 7-9, who qualified out of the Oakmont Country Club regional, and Cole Roberts of Oshawa, Ont., in boys’ 7-9, who advanced out of TPC River Highlands regional.

“I might be nervous there [Augusta] if I get to meet Tiger,” said Wu.

According to her coach and grandfather, Frank Zhang, young Wu averages 160 yards off the tee with a longest drive so far of 183 yards.

“You get to see wonderful things on a golf course and learn lots of things,” said Wu, about the sport she loves.

Yet, it is a difficult game to master at any age.

“It’s very hard to learn this sport,” noted Wu.

That’s why she has been out on the Royal Colwood layout five days a week on average since the family came to the Island two years ago from Tianjin, China.

Young golf prodigies have become sort of an Island thing. And they have proven to have staying power. Jeevan Sihota of Victoria began making the sports pages at an even younger age than Wu and the now 15-year-old spent the last year with the Golf Canada centralized national-team program on Bear Mountain and has a promising future. In a previous generation, Gordy Scutt of Victoria also made golfing news at a tender age before playing in the NCAA for the University of Washington Huskies and as a pro on the Canadian Tour.

“I want to play pro,” said Wu, with a self-assurance that belies her age.

“But I know it’s not easy.”

That’s what the five days a week on the course are about.

It’s already made her Augusta-bound.



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