Taryn Nguyen is a freshman on the Braden River High girls golf team. Nguyen qualified as an individual for the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 3A State Championships, to be held Nov. 11-12 at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, by finishing sixth (81) at her regional tournament, held Oct. 31 at Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club in Seminole.
When did you start playing golf?
My grandfather (Kerry Leitch) got me into the game at 3 years old. I picked it up right away and have been playing ever since. My grandfather says I had a natural swing back then, which helped me make good contact. When I was 10, I realized that I would not keep my fundamentals up if I didn't practice enough, so I decided to start taking it seriously.
What is the appeal to you?
I like that golf is an individual sport. It allows me to easily reflect on how I'm playing. I also just like watching golf balls fly through the air. It's fun being out here on the course.
What is your best skill?
My drives and my irons. My swing isn't perfect but it is pretty good. I can hit the ball straight. My average drive is somewhere in the 200- to 210-yard range.
What has been a challenge for you?
My short game needs to be better. I need to be able to scramble better to keep my scores down and try not to three-putt.
What is your favorite memory?
At my district meet this year (Oct. 24 at River Wilderness Golf Club in Parrish), I used a 4-hybrid on hole No. 6. It was a par-5 hole and I was under a tree. I ran it up the green and it was so close to dropping for a birdie. That was a cool shot.
What are your goals for the state tournament?
I just want to do my best. I was surprised I made it this far as a freshman, honestly. I just want to have a good experience. It has been exciting.
What is your favorite food?
I love raclette (a Swiss cheese and potato dish).
What are your hobbies?
I play a lot of video games. I like Valorant and Minecraft a lot.
What is your favorite subject?
I like math. I like that there is only one solution to things.
Which superpower would you pick?
I would want super strength to help me with my drives.
What is the best advice you have received?
Your attitude affects your game, so have a good attitude. It has been true for me. The last two years I have struggled some with my attitude on the course and I did not play well. I have figured out how to control my attitude this year and the results have been so much better.
Finish this sentence: "Taryn Nguyen is …"
Dedicated. I don't play golf every single day, but when I'm on the course, it has my full focus. I feel like I have to achieve all my goals.