Colorado sophomore girls' golf sensation shoots a 9-under par 63

Littleton (Colo.) Dakota Ridge High sophomore golfer Sydney Merchant shota a 9-under 63 last month. (
Littleton (Colo.) Dakota Ridge High sophomore golfer Sydney Merchant shota a 9-under 63 last month. (

Neither the Colorado High School Athletic Association or National Federation of State High School Associations keeps records for lowest golf scores, but it's hard to remember any female prep golfer having a round like Littleton (Colo.) Dakota Ridge High sophomore Sydney Merchant.

According to a Denver Post feature, the 16-year-old guaranteed Dakota Ridge golf coach Levi Bartholomew a low score at Littleton's Meadows Golf Course last month and delivered a 9-under par 63.

"I didn't go out there with a certain number in my head," Merchant told The Denver Post. "I expected myself to shoot under par, and it happened to work out."

Merchant's father Mark, who was drafted second overall behind Alex Rodriguez in Major League Baseball's  1987 draft and never received a big-league at-bat despite 11 seasons in the minors, may soon be the second most notable athlete of the family. After all, his daughter reportedly owns an average score of 71 this season, recording victories in all six tournaments she's entered.

"We've had some great golfers," Bartholomew added, "but I've never seen anybody as focused at practice. Her greatest strength: She's got a great mental game. She doesn't let a lot affect her on the course."

Merchant finished third at the state meet as a freshman, earning Denver Post All-Colorado honors. She aims to win the state title this spring before her family moves to Florida, where she hopes playing year-round will land a scholarship offer from the University of Florida and perhaps an LPGA Tour card down the line.

Considering Merchant qualified for the 2013 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship and finished among the nation's top 100 amateurs in Charleston, S.C. this past July — as a 15-year-old — that seems like a safe bet. Then again, her father might be the first one to tell her no future in sports is guaranteed.


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