Golf prodigy to compete in national tournament

Bensonhurst teen says he’s excited about competition

December 9, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nortee Panpinyo, who learned how to play golf at the City Parks Junior Golf Center in Dyker Beach, is heading to Florida for his first big national tournament. Photo courtesy City Parks Foundation
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A promising young golfer who learned how to play the sport at the CityParks Junior Golf Center in Dyker Heights is set to compete in his first major tournament later this month.

Nortee Panpinyo, a 14-year-old from Bensonhurst, will be taking part in the Doral-Publix Junior Golf Classic in Florida on Dec. 20. His trip to Florida is being funded through a scholarship provided by the City Parks Foundation, professional golfer Cristie Kerr and the Trump Organization.

Nortee will join over 690 other young golfers from around the world at the Doral-Publix Junior Golf Classic. Acceptance into the annual event is highly competitive, according to the City Parks Foundation. Athletes from nearly 40 countries will participate including 241 from the U.S. Nortee will be one of six golfers from New York state and the sole Brooklyn resident competing in the tournament.

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“I’m really looking forward to meeting the other competitors. I like to meet new people and since the Doral-Publix is international it’s going to be even more fun,” Nortee said in a statement issued by City Parks Foundation. “I’m excited, but also a little nervous.”

Nortee has been practicing every weekend for the past few months in preparation for the big event. His goal for the tournament is to hit straight and find most of the fairways and greens.

“My Junior Golf Center coaches have taught me to focus on each shot and not worry about how other players are doing, or what I’ve done previously. I’ll play my own game and stick to my pre-tournament ritual of taking my time picking out my clothes. It helps keep my mind clear and makes me more relaxed. I’ll also have my lucky coin in my bag, so I should be just fine,” Nortee stated.

Nortee began training at the CityParks Junior Golf Center in 2008, when he was just 8 years old. Three years later, in 2011, he was selected to join the Junior Golf Center’s advanced Academy Team, which prepares players for elite competition. Now, at age 14, he regularly competes in regional junior tournaments. In July, he tied for first place at the La Tourette tournament in Staten Island.

Kerr, a 16-time LGPA champion, has been involved with CityParks Golf since 2011 when she participated in pro-clinic at the CityParks Junior Golf Center. For years she has advocated for growing the game of golf at the junior level. Like Nortee, Kerr grew up playing on public courses. She is also a past champion of the Doral-Publix Junior Golf Classic. Other past champions of the tournament include Lexi Thompson, Rory McIlroy and Sean O’Hair.

“Through City Parks Foundation I’ve had the opportunity to meet both Cristie Kerr and Rory McIlroy, so to play in a tournament that they’ve each won is a big deal for me,” Nortee said.


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