Two Lubbock Country Club golfers with impressive resumes will represent the U.S. and Texas in two team competitions this month.
Eli Tran, a 14-year-old who attends All Saints, will represent America in the Evian Championship Juniors Cup Sept. 19-20 in Evian, France.
Marian Barker will play for Texas as part of a three-woman team in the USGA Women’s State Team Championship Sept. 24-29 in Santa Fe, N.M.
(In photo at left, Eli and Marian pose at The Club with the golf bags they got to play in the two tournaments this month.)
Tran is one of two boys, who will be joined by two girls to compete against teams from 18 other countries.
“I was just playing in a bunch of tournaments and ranked in the top two in the nation,” said Eli of how he qualified.
Jordan Spieth took part in the first Juniors Cup.
Eli met the young man he’ll play with – who lives in Pinehurst, N.C. – in Arkansas.
“It was a great first meeting. He was very polite,” said Eli.
It will also be the first time he’s been out of the United States.
The LPGA is paying all of his expenses as the junior tournament is connected to its Evian Championship that concluded Sunday.
Eli started playing golf at a very early age after he saw his dad watching golf videos. He would take lessons and ride his tricycle home when he was three.
Marian is excited to make an impact in Santa Fe.
“Texas has not made the cut and we’re going to make the cut – and want my score to count,” she said of the format where the top two scores for each team count for the total.
Her only concern is walking – carts are not allowed at this tournament.
She can easily physically handle the walking, but is concerned about her knees after years of running and jumping in other sports.
“They’re a little tired – they do have a few years on them,” she said of her knees.
Marian qualified for the tournament starting last year when the Texas Golf Association asked golfers to play in as many events as possible to celebrate its centennial year.
“I played in all of them,” said Marian.
She finished first, second or third in all the Texas tournaments – and was the only non-collegiate player to make the championship flight of the Texas State Championship.
Marian won points for all of it, but had no idea it qualified her for the trip to Santa Fe.
“I was really surprised. At first I thought it was a joke. I called them to make sure it was legit,” she said.
Both Marian and Eli credit Lubbock golf coach Jesse Blackwelder with helping them.
“I would not be playing in this without Jesse,” said Marian, and Eli agreed.
Marian has worked with Jesse for a few decades, back to when he was in Hobbs.
Eli’s been working with him since he was 5 or 6.