RIVERVIEW, Fla. — An ambitious 8-year-old golfer is putting in the work so she can be the best in the game.
Kylani Gathers first picked up a golf club when she was a few years younger than she is right now.
“When I was three years old, I did have plastic clubs,” Kylani told ABC Action News sports anchor Kyle Burger. “Me and my dad would always hit them inside the house and we wouldn’t break anything.”
On her seventh birthday, she got her first set of real clubs.
“I bought the clubs and it was the best thing that could’ve happened,” her father Corey Gathers said. “She started hitting, stripping everything pretty well at that point.”
“I started watching my dad and a lot of pros play on TV and I just wanted to play golf so bad,” Kylani added.
She’s on the driving range at least twice a week hitting between 400-500 balls. She travels the southeast competing in U.S. Kids Golf tournaments. Her first contest did not go so well.
“She signed up for her first tournament at Disney, and she placed dead last, if not, close to last,” Corey said. “I thought she was going to quit. I thought she didn’t want anything to do with it. But it kind of lit a fire.”
“Because I wanted to get better every time,” Kylani said on why she never quits. “If you keep going then you ended up being good. I just wanted to be that good.”
The drive to be the best led to a 9-under first-place finish at the Jim Thorpe Invitational, and another invite to Pinehurst for the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship.
With every ping of the ball out on the driving range, Kylani gets a step closer to her dream of becoming a professional golfer.
“I want to be a professional golfer on the LPGA Tour when I grow up and win a lot of money,” Kylani said.
The U.S. Kids Golf World Championship begins on August 4.
After Kylani's story aired, her dad shared a sweet video of her reaction.