Ten-year-old Diné golfer performs well under pressure

FRUITLAND, N.M.

The pressure was on for Maddison Long.

Submitted Maddison Long finished third at the 2016 West Coast AAU Junior Olympic Games in golf. Long qualified for the tournament by winning at an AAU sanctioned event in Santa Fe.

Submitted
Maddison Long finished third at the 2016 West Coast AAU Junior Olympic Games in golf. Long qualified for the tournament by winning at an AAU sanctioned event in Santa Fe.

In her first national golf tournament, the 2016 West Coast AAU Junior Olympic Games-Golf last weekend, Long sat in second place most of the week.

As the final hole approached, her competitors started to break down one by one, some crying and others clearly emotional, but not Long.

“She’s one of those girls that she just keeps prevailing; she just keeps going and going,” her mother Kristi Long said. “We don’t try to push her, to pressure her. She just loves it, it’s the drive.”

Maddison, 10, finished in third place at the national tournament held in Temecula, California, from July 25-29. She took home the bronze medal in the 13-year-old age division and a heap of confidence.

She said it was motivation to keep going.

“It was really fun, and I know things that I shouldn’t do and that I should do,” she said.

The Navajo and Coeur d’Alene golfer qualified for the national tournament after she took first place in her division in the First Nationals National Golf Championships. The qualifying tournament took place in Santa Fe in late June.

Finishing in third place was nothing short of a big accomplishment for the young golfer, who picked up the sport about two years ago.

Kristi said she and her husband Adrian Long, who is from Rock Springs, New Mexico, were regular golfers and Maddison would ask to accompany them on the course.

After the parents realized their daughter’s growing interest they signed her up for the NB3FIT program, a youth program within the Notah Begaye III Foundation that uses sports like golf and soccer to promote healthy lifestyles while teaching skill sets in the two sports.

“She just excelled. It was amazing how in two years … she caught on so fast,” her mom said. “She’s been golfing ever since.”


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Categories: Golf

About Author

Sunnie R. Clahchischiligi

Sunnie Clahchischiligi has been the sports writer for the Navajo Times since 2008. She has a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of New Mexico. Before joining the Times, she worked at the St. Cloud Times (Minn.), the Albuquerque Journal, the Santa Fe New Mexican, Sports Illustrated Magazine in New York City and the Salt Lake Tribune. She can be reached at sunnie@navajotimes.com.