Carmel Valley 9 year old striving for golf greatness

Kai Molina

Nine-year-old Kai Molina first picked up a golf club about two years ago, during the offseason of the soccer league he played in.

Kai, a fourth grader at Ocean Air Elementary School who lives in Carmel Valley, now competes in tournaments and U.S. Kids Golf World Championship events. His mom said he has been invited to compete in the 2021 U.S. Kids Golf World Championship at Pinehurst in July.

“It looked very fun in the beginning,” said Kai, who practices almost every day and watches golf frequently.

He is especially proud of all the holes-in-one.

“My first hole-in-one was like five months after I started,” Kai said.

His repertoire is also full of trick shots, including skipping golf balls across water and getting them to curve around trees.

“We don’t even know when he practices those, he would just do it,” said Mei, his mother, a self-described golf enthusiast. “He somehow can just figure it out.”

She added that for Kai’s first couple years of golf, he mostly played with other children for fun and took some lessons. Then he began playing in tournaments and enjoyed the competition. He has accumulated a number of plaques, trophies and other commendations over the past few months.

Some of Kai’s recent accomplishments include a second place finish in the Golf Mart Junior Championship and a first place finish in the Mike Riley Junior competition. Both were in the under-10 age group division.

“He does love playing golf immensely,” Mei said. “Often begs us to take him to Del Mar Golf Center to practice. Every time we bought him a new golf club, he loved it so much that at night he always took the club to bed to sleep with it, for many days. And when he is riding with us in the car, he would hold that new club in his arms while the other clubs are in the golf bag in the trunk.”

Kai said his dream is to become a professional golfer.