EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – On Friday nights in the fall, Julio Lopez can be found leading the Eastwood Troopers onto the gridiron.
Every game, the Troopers head football coach is joined on the sidelines by his son, Chase. Next weekend though, it’ll be Julio caddying for his kid.
Chase isn’t your average 1st grader; he’s one of 45 six -year-olds from five different countries qualified for next weekend’s U.S. Kid’s Golf World Championships at Pinehurst Golf Club in North Carolina.
“It’ll be fun to see him get out there and compete against some of the best in the world,” Julio said.
Chase is honest about how he got there.
“I believed in myself,” he said.
His golf game began innocently. Santa Claus brought Chase a golf club for Christmas when he was 4.
“It stayed in the garage for four months. It did not move,” his dad said with a laugh.
That changed when Tiger Woods made a triumphant return to the game. Chase watched the 2019 Masters and was hooked. He says his favorite moment was when Tiger hit the final putt to win.
Chase idolizes Tiger; he’s even got the fist pump down to a “T.” On the course, the swing comes natural and he’s worked diligently on his short game.
“He just loves to get out here and work,” said Julio. “I think there’s something to be said about that, and having the love and passion to drive you forward. He definitely has that.”
Most important to Chase at the World Championships, though, is to just have fun.
“It’s exciting. I think that’s one of the things as a kid to be able to go up there, make new friends and meet people from all over the country, and different parts of the world is a great experience for a 6-year-old,” said Julio.
As far as winning the tournament, well, Chase likes his chances.
“I like to drain putts,” he said.
His parents say that while the pandemic gave them quite a bit of pause to let him go, the opportunity was too good to pass up. The three-day, 27-hole tournament tees off July 30 and runs through August 1 at Pinehurst.
Four other Borderland golfers qualified for the World Championships. In the Boys 8U division, Alex Jasso and Robert Loree will compete; Las Cruces’ Chico Duran will play in Boys 9U; and Natalia Velasquez will play in the Girls 9U tournament.