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AJGA junior Avinash Iyer shines bright at local U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier

Iyer shares his golf journey and his motivation for the U.S. Junior Amateur
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The game of golf is always unpredictable, and it is proven time and time again. Setbacks occur more often than success, and in golf, you lose more than you win. For Avinash Iyer, a 2022 high school grad, his golf career is just taking off after overcoming one of those setbacks.

Like many young players these days, Avi's first encounter with golf dates back to when he was eight years old.

No one in my family played golf, but my parents signed my sister and I up for a local summer golf camp. She was more interested in chasing the ducks near the range but I enjoyed the game and continued going back to the range a few times a week.
Avinash Iyer

At a young age, Iyer had competing interests when it came to sports. He split his time between golf and soccer for the next couple of years, with his alliance heavily towards the one that most younger kids are expected to play. While Iyer cherished the time he had playing golf with his dad, he dared to admit that he was "more interested in being the next Neymar Jr. than becoming the next Tiger Woods." In high school, Iyer decided to trade in his cleats for spikes.

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While Iyer had a few good scores during his freshman year, a 1-under-par 71 at the 2019 AJGA Junior at Palo Alto Qualifier and a first round 2-under-par 70 at the 2019 AJGA Preview at Baylands, he was often outcompeted by the older and more experienced players in the field. However, like many junior golfers, Avi was determined to continue working on his game and become the best golfer that he can be. He continued to play in many golf tournaments both inside and outside of the AJGA. As Avi entered his sophomore year of high school, he was still competing and playing well. Then, Avi was faced with the biggest setback of his junior golf career.

Things were going pretty well until I had a major hip injury - a labrum tear- towards the end of sophomore year. For six months, standing up or walking was excruciating and practicing was impossible. My doctor told me I had to completely stop playing until I was healed but didn't have concrete medical advice for the recovery.
Avinash Iyer

Out of frustration, Avi created his own exercise plan that consisted of waking up at 5 a.m. before school so that he could get an hour of physical therapy in. He would do another 30 minutes of physical therapy after school and another an hour before bed. During this time, Avi also set his goal of playing college golf for a NCAA Division I team. After hundreds of hours of PT, Iyer was back to the game just in time for the start of junior year.

Motivated by these setbacks and my long term goal, I have been steadily working on improving during the past two years, and I am currently playing the best golf of my life.
Avinash Iyer

Fast forward to June 13, 2022. Avinash had just graduated from high school and was getting ready for a busy summer of tournaments. The U.S. Junior Amateur is one of the top junior golf events across the country. Thousands of juniors try to qualify for the prestigious event every year, with only a select few getting through each time. This year, the event is hosted at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, one of the most well-known links style courses in the world. This also happens to be Avi's last year of eligibility.

Avi picked the U.S. Junior Amateur Qualifier at Yolo Fliers Club, close to his home in San Ramon, California. The 63 players that signed up for this qualifier were fighting for three spots and two alternate positions. This time, instead of sinking down to the middle of the pack, it was Avinash Iyer's name that sat at the very top of the leaderboard.

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Shooting a career-low round of 6-under-par 66, Avinash took home the qualifier medal and booked himself a trip to Bandon Dunes. Leading up to the U.S. Junior Amateur this week, Avi has done what Avi does best, practice. His relentless dedication to the game of golf is inspiring, but it is his attitude that truly makes him stand out.

Even the best guys on tour have bad rounds. When I have a bad round, I try to figure out what caused it, create a plan to improve and execute. Dwelling on something that's already happened for too long can be a waste of energy, so it's important to focus on the next round.
Avinash Iyer

You may be wondering about Avi's lifelong dream of playing for a NCAA Division I program. Well, you can see how he continues to carry himself at San Jose State University this fall.

Follow along the U.S. Junior Amateur leaderboard for Avinash's scores.