My Golf Journey

Freshman golf sensation Tyler Momono documents his road to the NCS.


Lisa Nakamura

Tyler Momono with his TCAL Championship Medal. Next stop: NCS.

Tyler Momono

I first started playing golf when I was 7 years old during the summer. I played baseball for about four years and my grandpa asked me if I wanted to play golf. My first time touching a club was at Tilden Park golf course. Then I got more interested in golf so my mom and dad signed me up for a program called The First Tee which is where they introduce you to golf and teach you the rules and etiquette to playing golf. I went to The first tee for about 2 years. Then I started playing tournaments when I was 9, mainly US Kids tournaments. Once I started playing tournaments I stopped playing baseball and only played golf. I played US Kids for about 2 years then I started playing other tours like JGANC (Junior Golf Association of Northern California) and JTNC (Junior Tour of Northern California).

Then I turned 10 and played the Bay Area tour for US Kids and won the tour which then qualified me to go to the US Kids World Championship which is played at Pinehurst in North Carolina. The tournament is three days of eighteen holes. I didn’t actually play Pinehurst but I played a course called Little River. The course was in bad condition. I ended up finishing T67th out of 140 kids, with rounds of 76,81,76.

Then I turned 11 and since I won the last tour I still qualified for the World Championship again. So I went to Pinehurst again on August 4th, 2016. I played a course called Mid South Club it was in a lot better condition then Little River was. I ended up finishing T49th out of 148, with rounds of 73,77, and 78. I eventually stopped playing the World Championship and just played tournaments closer to home. When I was eleven I also played in a US Kids tournament for the Central Valley local tour on July 23rd, 2016. I ended up playing the best round of my life shooting a 66 (-6) at Swenson Park Golf Course in Stockton with 8 birdies, 2 bogeys, and 8 pars.

Then I turned 12 and I played the US Kids Tour again and won every tournament in the tour which gave me 1st place status so I then played in the California State Invitational on June 19th-20th, 2017. I ended up finishing in 4th place with rounds of 81 and 77. Also, I got my Junior membership at Richmond Country Club which has great practice facilities.

As I turned 13 I played in more JGANC and JTNC rather than the US Kids tournaments because as you get older there are fewer kids who play in the US Kids so there was no competition. I played the first JGANC tournament of 2018 at Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton. We played the valley course which is a way more flat course than the hill course. I ended up finishing T4th with a 77 (+5). I played the Ernie Barbour Memorial Junior which is a JGANC tournament, I ended up playing pretty bad shooting an 83 (+11) and finishing in 4th place. My next tournament was a Qualifier for the Junior World and it has all the top kids from Northern California fighting for two spots to get into the Junior World. I ended up finishing T21st with a 78 (+6).

Now I am 14 in high school, I joined the Pinole Valley High School golf team. My teammates were Ralph, Tommy, Sam, Ansel, Marvin, Mateo, Dylan, and Vincent. We didn’t get to play several of our first matches because of the rain, but we were able to get them all rescheduled. We played our League Finals (TCAL) on April 29th, 2019. Which is like our last match between all of the teams in our league, the teams in our league are De Anza, Salesian, St Marys, St Patrick-St Vincent, Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, and Jesse Bethel. I shot a 77 (+6) at Blue Rock Springs with 1 eagle, 1 birdie, 2 double bogeys, a couple of bogeys, and several pars. The 77 was good enough to tie for first with Julian from St Patrick-St Vincent. Which means that I am going onto the next stage which is the North Coast Section (NCS). At NCS there are the top kids from different leagues.