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Q2 AOW: Emigrant's Kelley to play in Optimist International Junior Golf Championship

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Posted at 6:32 AM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 08:56:40-04

LIVINGSTON — While the Livingston Golf Course was being brought back to life from flooding, a local phenom was out showcasing his talents.

Emigrant’s Aubrey Kelley won the Rocky Mountain PGA Yellowstone Juniors Championship at Lake Hills by one stroke, coming from behind on Day 2.

“I didn’t used to play well. That used to be – I used to not like that course at all because I was really struggling on it. I was shooting really high and I couldn’t get it down, but I overcame that fear and started playing it better and it gave me confidence," Kelley told MTN Sports.

That victory was his second at Lake Hills this summer, as he won the Optimist qualifier to earn a spot at the Optimist International Junior Golf Championship at Trump National Doral in Florida, where Kelley will head this Friday. With all these pressure situations, you’d think Kelley had nerves of steel from the outside.

“I get really nervous sometimes. Sometimes it’s hard to even hold my club. But how I deal with it is I kind of take a few deep breaths and realize it’s just a tournament," Kelley said. "There’s more like it. It’s not the end of the world. It helps me out. Sometimes I drink some cold water and reset.”

Trump National Doral will also give Kelley a taste of a different type of grass. It won’t be his first venture with slightly different putting surfaces, though.

“I went down to North Carolina last year and that really helped me out even though I didn’t win, because it was way different conditions," said Kelley. "It was different grasses, different weather. I didn’t know how to handle it. It was my first exposure to that.”

The Optimist International Juniors Golf Championship at Trump National Doral goes from July 24-29.