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East County Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009 10 years ago

Athlete of the Week: Rocky Khara

by: Jen Blanco Sports Editor

The East County Observer and Bogey’s Restaurant and Sports Pub have teamed up to showcase the East County’s top athletes. Each recipient’s article will be featured on the restaurant’s wall.

Rocky Khara knows that no matter how talented he is, there’s still a chance that it may not be enough.

The Lakewood Ranch senior golfer knows one bad swing or one missed putt could cost him a match or title.

So when Khara shot a 1-over 73 in the Class 2A-Region 5 tournament Oct. 26 at Heron’s Creek in North Port, finishing third and earning a trip to the state tournament for the fourth-consecutive season, he couldn’t help but smile.

“I was kind of relieved because I knew that if I play any day I’m good enough to go to states, but if I have one bad round then I might not make it,” Khara said.

Khara competed in the Class 2A state tournament Nov. 3-4 at Silver Springs Shores, The Country Club in Ocala.

Last season, Khara had his best finish as an individual, placing 10th out of the 100-man field. Now Khara is hoping that his final high school match will yield him his first individual state title.

“I’m going to try and go out with a bang,” Khara said before the tournament. “I’m feeling really good now, and I’m playing great.”

Khara began playing golf when he was 5 years old after his father took him to a local course. He started working with an instructor and began competing in tournaments that same year.

Over the past 12 years, Khara has continued to improve his game, spending at least four hours a day on the course.

“Golf has its ups and downs,” Khara said. “Sometimes, it can be really frustrating and sometimes you don’t want to be anywhere else. You are out there every single day, and how much you get better depends on how hard you work.”

Khara’s hard work has paid off. In August, Khara won the American Junior Golf Association’s Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic in Mexico.

Additionally, Khara has also received offers from several schools, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Louisville and the University of California, Irvine, among others, to play golf at the collegiate level

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