Video: Seven-year-old Grace is golf sensation

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WHILE her classmates are playing dress-up or watching the latest Disney movies, little Grace Crawford is honing her swing ready to defeat the best young players in the world.

The seven-year-old golf prodigy can smash a drive up to 170 yards and regularly leaves older boys trailing in her wake as she practises up to seven hours a day on the fairways.

Grace Crawford is a rising star in the golfing world. Picture: Greg Macvean

Grace Crawford is a rising star in the golfing world. Picture: Greg Macvean

Now the pint-sized putter is preparing to take on the world’s best in a competition on the same North Carolina course that recently hosted the US Open and US Ladies Open.

Grace – who picked up her first golf club aged three – has qualified for the prestigious US Kids World Championship at Pinehurst following a jaw-dropping performance in the European equivalent at Gullane Golf Club in May.

Budding stars from across the world are invited to take part in the tournament – the largest of its kind for youngsters aged between six and 12 – and Grace, from North Berwick, will battle for the title against 60 other golf wunderkids.

“I have never visited America before and I am really excited,” she said.

“I am very proud to have qualified for this championship.

“It is a big event and there will be over 1000 children taking part.”

The Loretto schoolgirl sharpens her swing in one-hour lessons on Monday and Fridays with a marathon seven-hour session most Saturdays.

While no handicaps are recorded at such an early age level, Grace has impressed a string of golf tutors at the academy.

Loretto’s director of golf Rick Valentine praised the “fantastic achievement” and wished 
the youngster well in the competition.

“It is wonderful for Loretto golf to have another player competing on the world stage,” he said.

“I am sure Grace will have a fantastic time and the experience will stand her in great stead for the future.”

Inspired by watching siblings Kate, 11, and Glen, 9, sink putts with their dad Douglas, Grace first picked up a club long before she started school. Her father still coaches his daughter alongside Jordan Ramanauskas of Gullane golf course.

The energetic youngster balances her golfing ambitions alongside harp lessons, lacrosse games, ski racing and swimming, not to mention her school work.

She lists her favourite player as Australian PGA ace Adam Scott – recently named as the World No. 1 ranked golfer.

Mum Alison said the whole family are set to travel to North Carolina next month to cheer on their star.

She added: “She couldn’t be in a better school for golf. After the Europeans, she was out the next day.

“The whole family is going over for the tournament. her dad is very proud.

“It’s amazing to love something so much and be good at it. There are lots of opportunities here and in East Lothian to play and practice.

“We thought after the European finals she would want to have a break, but because she had done so well and surprised herself she wanted to go out on the course the next day.”

In the qualifying heat in Gullane, more than 500 youngsters from 40 different countries – including Britain, 
France, Germany, Egypt, 
Switzerland, South Africa and the Czech Republic – competed in several age groups 
with Grace sealing eighth place and a seat on the plane to America.