Pine-Richland golfer Aiyana Chopra shines during summer tour

Sunday, August 6, 2017 | 11:00 PM

After competing for three months in the Isaly's Junior Golf Tour, competition in the summer circuit came to a close for Pine-Richland's Aiyana Chopra on Aug. 1.

The rising junior took third after shooting 87 in the final event of the tour, the 2017 Isaly's Jr. Golf Tour P.O.Y. Championship at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.

The course at Nemacolin was long and challenging, Chopra said, but the biggest key to her sharply played round was staying composed.

“I think that I went in more relaxed with this one even though it was the championship. I felt confident going in. I knew I had a good season behind me and a good ranking overall on the tour, so I just went in to it ready to play some golf,” she said.

“I like this course a lot even though it's a little bit longer. I know my golf game is in a good place right now, so I just went in relaxed.”

Chopra's strong showing put an exclamation point on her summer. With her third-place finish, she clinched second place in the Player of the Year standings.

Consistency has been key. In seven tournaments this summer, she earned one first place, three second places and a pair of third-place finishes.

She did it all while competing in the Girls 16-18 division despite just turning 16 in July. Competition began in June.

“I definitely thought I'd be more nervous playing back on the tees more, or going up against girls that are going to be seniors and might have a couple of years on me,” Chopra said.

“But it was nice being with the older girls because you get to see girls that are going to be college golfers soon and pick things up from them. It definitely was difficult but it was nice being in that age group.”

It was a major improvement in the rising junior's golf game when considering last summer, in the same tour, Chopra finished outside of the top 10 in P.O.Y. standings for the 12-15 age group. Developing her game took serious effort on a daily basis, but in the end the 16-year-old said her drive to get better is what keeps her going.

“Honestly, it's just coming in with a lower score the next time,” Chopra said. “I just like to see my scores keep dropping. I don't want to go in the next day and feel like I should've been working on some part of my game more often. I just don't like letting myself or other people down.”

Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.

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