Fore! Patrick youth makes national golf team

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 14-year old son of an NCO stationed at Patrick AFB could be the country's next great golf star.

Trey Valentine, son of Tech. Sgt. Fletcher Valentine, NCOIC of medical material for the 45th Medical Group, made the Tiger Woods Foundation National Junior Golf Team for the fifth time in a row this year.

"He's just very driven to succeed," said Sergeant Valentine.

Players are chosen for the Tiger Woods team based on their golf prowess and handicap (their average score in a round of golf), as well as academic achievement and community service. Trey will join 23 other young golfers for the team's tournament in July in San Diego.

Playing since he was three years old, Valentine's first experience with golf came when he went with his father and grandfather on an outing to a driving range.

"I just picked up a club and started playing," said Trey. He discovered he liked golf and decided to play it as opposed to baseball or soccer because to him golf is "just an addictive game."

Trey played his first actual round of golf at the Palm Tree Course while living on Andersen AFB in Guam. His father would double the par for each hole, so a par 3 hole would become a par 6, and Valentine was allowed to tee the ball wherever he chose.
It was at this time that Trey started taking lessons from the local golf pro, and in less than a year competed in his first junior golf event, placing 12th among 50 other competitors. To further test his skills, Trey's mother traveled with him 12,000 miles to Quincy, Ill. for the Pepsi Little Peoples Junior Golf Championships. Valentine placed second overall.

As Trey enters his freshman year at Viera High School in Melbourne, he has competed in more than 33 events, finishing first, second, or third in 15 of them. While he said he doesn't want to be just like Tiger Woods, Trey said his long-term goal is to be "the best player in the world."

As for his parents, while they know golf is important to Trey, it isn't the only thing. "As long as he does his studies and his chores around the house, we'll support him," said Sergeant Valentine.