After seeing her dad enjoy the game, Kyndall Shamblin went to the course with him a couple of years ago and “really enjoyed it. It was fun. I liked playing it, plus I got to drive the cart and spend time with my dad,” she expressed.
With her interest in the links, Coby Shamblin took his daughter to see his former Bradley Central High School golf coach, the late Bill “Chief” Robertson, to be a part of the summer golf program he conducted.
“I took her to Chief’s summer clinics and she really took to it,” explained Coby, who qualified for the TSSAA State Golf Championships, plus played basketball for coach Earl Rowan before graduating BCHS in 1995. “Last year she started playing in some tournaments and did really well.”
Kyndall went undefeated in six tournaments to capture the 8-under division season championship at the 2012 Spring Champions Junior Golf Tour held in the Knoxville area.
In March of this year she not only won the U.S. Kids Jekyll Island Cup Girls 9-under championship, but also earned a “Green Jacket” by shooting an 88-78 — 166 at the 2013 Junior Masters in Atlanta. These events drew competitors from as far away as Kansas, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as several southern states.
Last year she tied for second at the U.S. Kids World Championships at Pinehurst, N.C., and will return to the storied golf location next month to play in this year’s event.
A three-day competition of 27 holes at Longleaf Country Club, Kyndall competed in the 8-year-old division last year which had 42 girls from around the world.
She shot half rounds of 37-38-37 for 4-over-par 112. Kyndall tied for second with Anna McKay of the United Kingdom. Amari Avery, of Riverside, Calif., won the tournament by only three strokes with a 109. Alejandra Ferrer, of Mexico, and Leon Takagi, of Japan, tied for fourth with 113.
So far this summer, Kyndall has played in four TGA/Toyota Junior Tour events. Winning the 8-11 Micro Division in all three held at Bradley County courses. She shot 2-over-par at Chatata Valley, 1-under at Waterville and 1-over on her home course at the Cleveland Country Club.
Earlier this week, the 9-year-old stepped up against older competitors and captured the 14-under division championship at the Dan Tribble PGA Junior event held at the Creeks Bend course in Hixson. Playing from the women’s tees, Kyndall fired an 85 in the two-day, 18-hole event.
Kyndall is also a member of the Cleveland Country Club’s new team that is part of a PGA Junior League program. Similar to other youth sports programs, the team hosted several matches, plus traveled to other courses to face off in a true team-format matches.
When asked what is the strongest part of her golf game, Kyndall said her “iron shots are good, but not her chipper.” Her dad added that her drives and putting are strong.
The fourth-grade honor student at Prospect Elementary does feel confident that she could beat her principal Steve Montgomery, an avid golfer himself, in a round.
While Coby can lay claim to passing on his golfing genes, Kyndall is also a standout on the basketball court, which both of her parents can take credit for. Her mom, Rhonda (Staton) is a former Bradley Bearette. “I played until my senior year,” explained Rhonda, who graduated in 1997.
For her part, Kyndall was a standout on the Prospect team this past season, earning Most Valuable Player honors in the second- and third-grade division at the post-season All-Star Tournament. The Prospect Lady Vikings were a perfect 17-0 while winning the regular season and A-Division tournament county championships.
Kyndall is not Coby and Rhonda’s only budding star as seven-year-old little sister Avery can also swing a golf club, but “softball is more her game,” according to her mom. “She plays on the New Level Lightening travel team.”
“We’re going to the World Series,” Avery announced excitedly. The team will travel to Dalton, Ga., for the World Series in July.
Avery played in one TGA Junior Tour event last summer, winning the Girls 4-7 age bracket at Lakehaven with a nine-hole 46. She also played on the unbeaten third-grade Prospect basketball squad, despite just being in the first grade this past school year.
With Coby working third shift for UPS, he gets to join the family for the girls sporting events. “We are constantly on the go,” declared “sports mom” Rhonda. “This time of year, our house is just a place to lay our heads to sleep.”
“Sports is a big part of our lives and gives us the opportunity to bond as we spend a lot of time together as a family, whether its in the car on the way or at a tournament or game,” injected Coby.
Although Kyndall’s not scheduled to graduate until 2022, and Avery in 2024, college coaches have already shown it’s never too early to start recruiting.