Eight-Year-Old Connor Szczechowicz Has Sights Set on the PGA
The junior golfer from Chula Vista is on the fast track to earning his place among history’s most legendary golfers
Average driving distance: 180 yards
Longest putt: 90 feet
Hole in one: Hole No. 9 at Colina Park Golf Course
Tournaments won: 40
Favorite food: Grilled cheese sandwiches
Favorite golfer: Bubba Watson
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, and perhaps in the not-so-distant future, Connor Szczechowicz. This junior golfer from Chula Vista is on the fast track to earning his place among history’s most legendary golfers. He has played in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship every year since he was six, competing against 150 kids and consistently ranking in the top 15. Last year, Connor traveled to Scotland for the European Championship, where he finished third overall and was the top-scoring American, automatically earning him an invite back in 2018.
The secret to his great swing? “The key is to just turn your hips and don’t put your head up. And I don’t really push it,” the eight-year-old lefty explains. His dad, Kris Szczechowicz, noticed his talent at an early age, having first put a club in his hands when he was just one year old. By age two, Connor was out on the golf course, and by five, he was competing in tournaments. “When I took him out there at age two, I saw the excitement on his face,” Kris recalls. “He just kept going, even at that age. He’s always wanted to try to get better.”
Kris admits that the time and financial commitments of raising a golf superstar are significant, but Connor hopes to take his hobby all the way to the PGA Tour. The third-grader at Wolf Canyon Elementary School is coached by Phillip Schmidt III of Salt Creek Jr. Golf Academy, and he practices at Chula Vista Golf Course five days a week for four hours a day, with no plans of slowing down. “He’ll play a tournament and then want to play 18 holes again,” his dad says. “It’s just not enough for him, especially if he didn’t play well. He’ll try and figure out what he needs to do to correct it, and he’ll bring that to the next round.”
Connor still somehow finds time for homework and even plays Little League in the spring. But golf is his true passion. This month he will compete in the IMG Academy Junior World Championship at Sycuan Golf Resort, the FCG Callaway World Championship in Palm Springs, and the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
His competitive drive and growing trophy collection keep him motivated. And according to Connor, when it comes to trophies, size definitely matters. Smiling and stretching his arms nearly three feet apart, he says, “One time the trophy was that long!”