Move over, Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie. You’ve got company, and she’s just 9-years-old.
Meet Anna Christian Becker. The Tuscaloosa, Ala. native is in the third grade at Tuscaloosa Academy and is already suiting up for the school’s varsity boys golf team. According to this excellent profile by the Tuscaloosa News, Becker is believed to be the youngest high school varsity athlete in Alabama state history and one of the youngest nationwide.
Unlike the state’s public school governing body, the Alabama High School Athletic Association, which bans all athletes younger than seventh grade from competing at the high school level, the Alabama Independent School Association allows any student athlete talented enough to compete to suit up. Tuscaloosa Academy is a member of the latter, paving the way for Becker’s emergence while still in elementary school.
Becker has earned her spot on the team with steady, consistent rounds. According to the News, she shoots below 100 and routinely drives the ball more than 180 yards. She’s younger than when her brother William first joined the TA team in fifth grade, but her early season opponent already indicate that she fits right in on the varsity level.
“She was very mature for a third-grader. I would think she was in like sixth or seventh grade if I didn’t ask her,” Madison-Ridgeland Academy junior Luke Agent told the News. “She played pretty close with me, and I think she beat the other guy in our group.”
For her part, Becker insists that she’s begun to block out the pressure of varsity golf. And her coach is convinced that her early performances are just the first act of a long successful career to come. The assistant golf professional at Indian Hills Country Club, where Becker recently carded a 93-96 at a two-day tournament, was stunned she could compete as comprehensively as she did.
“Normally high school boys will play the second-furthest-back tee, and a 9-year-old on average – I coach a junior league team – they are teeing off way up on the fairway, like 200 yards up, because they can’t play regulation golf from back here,” Indian Hills Country Club’s Tom Farrell told the News. “So she is breaking 100 from courses that are way, way too long for her, even at 15 percent.”