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World Youth Team Challenge
Bolingbrook Golf Course
Bolingbrook, Illinois

Hole 8 is a Par 3 over the water, behind the reeds

It seems like a long time since Kay Dalke first told us about the World Youth Team Challenge.  Kyle was 8 when we learned that Brad Dalke wouldn't be going to the Starburst Junior Championship because he had earned a spot on one of the 4 United States teams competing Ryder Cup style in Bolingbrook, Illinois.  Junior golfers age 10 - 16 would play matches against other junior golfers from Columbia, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and even Sweden and South Africa. Each team would have 2 boys for each age.  ( Two 12 year olds, two 11 year olds, two 10 year olds, etc.).  When we first learned of the event, we discovered that they were raising the age from 9 to 10 so we wouldn't be eligible until 2010.  Another requirement was the resume submission that had to be turned in by the end of October of the previous year.

Looking at the names of the previous entrants, many of them quite familiar to us through US Kids Golf, we were eager to submit Kyle's resume in October 2009.  When I first saw the resume, I realized that I had to backtrack for more information than I usually kept in regards to events that Kyle had been in.  Pete didn't just want the dates and what place Kyle finished - but yardage, formats, and number of entrants.  The 4 main events were US Kids Worlds ( Kyle had 2 wins and a 2nd place finish), Starburst Junior National Championship ( Kyle had 1 win and 2 third place finishes) but he had never competed at Callaway Junior Worlds or Pepsi Little Peoples.  We were glad that Kyle had been in 3 match play events with a 7 - 2 - 0 record.  For over a month we anxiously awaited notification, hoping that Kyle's body of work would earn him one of only 8 slots for ten-year olds. 


Then, just in time for Thanksgiving - we got the invitation.  Not only was Kyle invited - he was asked to join the Defending Champion US team !  Even better - not only was Kyle on the winning 2009 team - he'd be joining Brad Dalke.  We couldn't wait to tell them and then we waited to see who Kyle would be partnered with.  Would it be someone we knew, someone Kyle had competed against?  Finally we couldn't stand it any more and I sent a email asking if we could find out.  The reply was . . . . Frankie Capan - from Minnesota!!!!
Now we're even more excited.  I truly don't think we could have asked for a better playing partner for Kyle.  Not only did Frankie have a very successful resume with US Kids, but he'd been playing golf for as long as Kyle had.  We'd even played the final round of 2009's USK World Championship with Frankie - and we were so impressed with his temperment, his demeanor.  He's a solid, well-rounded golfer.


The first order of business on Opening Day was breakfast for all the golfers, followed by Team introductions and anthems.  After briefing everyone on the rules, everyone headed out to the putting green for a panoramic picture of all the golfers and coaches from all 9 teams.  Kyle's team wore white for the first round.  The boy in the orange shirt and cast was on this team last year, but a recent injury forced him out of the competition, but not off the team.  He was there everyday to show his support.  We had the first rain delay that fortunately only lasted a little over an hour, but it didn't dampen anyone's spirits and Defending US Champs teed off against Team Venezuela on the front 9 playing Alternate Shot.   Kyle and Frankie mutually decided that Kyle would tee off on the par 5's and Frankie the par 3's.

Defending US Champs vs Team Venezuela
Frankie & Kyle vs Varun Chopra & Jose Ferre

Despite the rain delay, Kyle and Frankie came out swinging and were undefeated in their first day matches, winning Alternate Shot (4 & 2) and Better Ball against Team Venezuela.  Overall, the Defending Champs team dominated and after the first day's matches, we led in Pool B with 15 1/2 points and Team Venezuela had 2 1/2 points.  Team USA East and Team Mexico B were 2nd & 3rd in Pool B at the end of Day 1.

Day 2 vs USA East

On Day 2, the team went up against Team USA East.  There was another rain delay but all of the rounds were completed.  Kyle and Frankie won the morning match, Alternate Shot, 3 & 1, but lost the Better Ball match 2 & 1.  Overall, the Defending Champs got 10 points, with Team USA East getting 8.

No caddies!

Day 3 vs Mexico B
Tony Padilla and Luis Ferrare

On the 3rd day, we played against the Mexico B team, Tony Padilla and Luis Ferrare.  It really was great to see Tony again and I couldn't help thinking how much Luis looked like Haley Joel Osmet - the lead actor in the movie The Sixth Sense. The morning Alternate Shot match was extremely close, and it came down to the 9th hole.  Frankie made a great shot onto the green on the 9th hole and Kyle putted in for the win (1 up).  They struggled in the afternoon Better Ball match and there wasn't a repeat of the last hole of the morning and they lost (1 up).  Overall, the Defending Champs still lead the day with an additional 9 1/2 points to Mexico B's 8 1/2 points.


So, on Day 4 - it would be te winners of pool A - The Defending Champions vs the winners of pool B - The Columbians.  The weather remained a factor - the older boys had a brief rain delay before they could tee off but the course continued to drain quiclky



Kyle and Frankie were totally in sync and they won both of their matches.  The rain came back, though not enough to stop play and so the players that were done - like Kyle and Frankie huddled under umbrellas to cheer on their teammates.


Unfortunately, all 3 of the Girls teams for our group were unable to win any of their matches in the afternoon and Kyle, Frankie, Brad and the rest of the Defending Champs had to settle for 2nd place.  Several months later, we were saddened to learn that the World Youth Challenge would no longer be held due to logistical difficulties for the director.  We were so grateful for our experience and a big shout-out to Kay Dalke for getting us involved.


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