Winning Ways

As the saying goes… when a door closes, a window opens.

That’s exactly what happened to Chanelle Avaricio in 2012. And boy, what a big window it was.

After reaching the semifinal round of the Junior Amateur Match Play Championship at Alabang Country Club in June, Chanelle blew what could have been a lopsided victory with crucial mistakes in the home stretch. It was the kind of experience that would scar most people for life. For Chanelle, it turned out to be one of the most important lessons of her young career.

Barely a month after her meltdown, Chanelle won back to back tournaments in Southern California. The first one was the Kikkor Championship, a Southern California PGA Junior Tour event, where she beat the runner up by a whopping 9 strokes in the Girls 15-18 division. The second was the Veritas World Junior at Pacific Palms Resort, where she won the Girls 15 division in wire-to-wire fashion, shooting a 2 under 69 playing in the final group on the final day.

I had the privilege of watching her during the final holes of that tournament. I saw a completely different person. Calm, composed, confident… a far cry from the girl who just a month back couldn’t hold it together under pressure.

She showed the same character during the PARS – Florida International Junior at PGA Golf Club in December, where she won  the 15-18 division via sudden death in difficult weather conditions

With respectable finishes in other prestigious tournaments like the US Kids Teen World Championship in North Carolina (7th) and the FCG – San Diego Junior Amateur (3rd), it was just a matter of time before US college coaches start noticing and showing interest.

The 15 year old from Southville International School will be graduating high school  in 2014, but proud parents Antonio and Rina are already preparing themselves to see Chanelle off. It ceratinly won’t be an easy decision for Chanelle, but wherever she chooses to go, I’m sure she will always remember that sad day in June of 2012… and be thankful for it.

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