Wayne heading for the US Masters of Junior Golf
By Niall O’Shea
Nine year old Wayne Whitley O’Callaghan is about to take on the golfing world. He’s heading to the US where he has qualified for two international junior golf events. Wayne will be Ireland’s only representative at the World Masters of Junior Golf in Las Vegas in July and in September he has a date in Pinehurst for the US Kids Finals. Wins in the Irish Junior Golf Tour last year saw Wayne qualify for Las Vegas, he won events in Munster, Ulster and Leinster in the under 8 category. A few weeks ago Wayne won again in Dungarvan, this time in a US Kids qualifier and went forward to the Irish finals in Portmarnock Links. The final was over nine holes and Wayne went around the shortened course in 40 strokes. The nine year old was two shots off the lead playing the last but a great tee shot on the 114 yard hole saw his ball finish just 10 feet from the hole. He made to putt to tie the lead and went on to win on the countback.
Dad Wayne, a PGA teaching professional has coached his son over the past few years. Even as a toddler Wayne Jnr showed an interest as his Dad explains; “He walked holding a club at 9 months and I have a YouTube clip of him launching a ball over my head at 30 yards when he was 2. He used to hit shots on the course first around Douglas when I practised there. At 3 he used hit foam balls over the roof of his Mum’s bungalow to the other side, and he used get so excited when I used head to the range. The Evening Echo printed a picture of him hitting balls in Fountainstown when he was just two.”
Wayne Jnr has been playing golf from when he could stand, but it’s clear that golf is in his blood. His dad Wayne is one of the leading teaching professionals in Cork and one of a few who specialises in junior golf. Wayne Snr has been working from his Fernhill Academy for about 18 months and has a large number of junior golfers enrolled in the junior academy. This year along with a few like-minded professionals he’s running the Irish Junior Masters Tour with seven events already scheduled. There are four events scheduled for Cork in Charleville, Bandon, Raffeen Creek and Fernhill. Wayne is keen to emphasise that their concept for junior golf differs from the regular adult version; “the different age groups will play the competition off tee boxes appropriate to their age and ability. The tour events are open to all juniors with no handicap requirement and the juniors will play off a shortened course to ensure everyone has fun!
Wayne Jnr is a member of Fernhill Golf Club in Carrigaline. He also plays soccer with College Corinthians and he plays hurling and football with Carrigaline. Fernhill Golf Club will be holding a fundraising classic to help him get to Las Vegas and Pinehurst. The classic takes place on Friday 27th June and teams of three cost €120. Further details are available from the club or from the Wayne O’Callaghan Golf Academy.