The Gympie teen carving a career on the world golf stage
GOLF: Gympie's talented golfer Rebecca O'Neill is proving why she could be one of the region's most exciting sporting prospects with her eye set on playing professionally in America.
At just 17-years-old, O'Neill recently swung her way to a solid 11th place on the world stage in Las Vegas when she competed in the IJGA World Stars of Junior Golf Tournament in July in the 15 to 18-year-old category.
Edging out 19 young competitors out of 30, O'Neill played three rounds of 18 holes finishing with a 77, 78 and 79.
The Gympie teen was blown away to finish just outside the top 10.
"It was amazing, for my age I am pretty happy where I finished,” she said.
"I did not expect to get anywhere near that. I thought I would finish near the 20 but this was incredible.”
Playing on the world-class facilities of the tour took some adjusting, the aspiring professional said.
"The course looked fake, that is how kept it was and because it was Vegas it was these luscious bright green fairways and then rocks,” she said.
"It was so nice to play on. When you wanted the ball to bounce a certain way, it did. I had to change a bit, the balls flew further and ran further so you just had to adjust to that.
"One thing I learnt was that it doesn't matter what golf course you play at, it can be a course similar to here in Gympie and you can still play well.”
The St Patrick's College student hopes this is a stepping stone to an illustrious professional career.
"I want to play professionally and I want to try and get a scholarship at a college in America and slowly get my way into the pro circuit,” she said.
"Competing at that tournament (World Stars) will help get my name out there.
"There were so many scouts at the tournament at one point my group was being followed by six and it did put a lot of pressure on me.”
O'Neill shifts her focus to a tournament next weekend in Buderim and then in September school holidays she will take to the greens at Pelican Waters for the IGA Invincible Masters.
"For practice any tournament is going to be good for you,” she said.
"You compete against other people and you get to practice on different courses so you know what you can expect at other courses.”