Trey DePriest, 7, of Monette qualified for a spot on the US Kids World Golf Championship to be held July 26-29 in Pinehurst, N.C. It will not be Trey's first World Championship as he qualified last year and competed in the 2005 U.S. Kids World Tournament in Williamsburg, Vir. Last year he represented Arkansas as the 6-and-under Arkansas state champion.
Trey, son of Thomas and Candie DePriest, has had an exceptional year of golf including two state tournaments titles (Arkansas and Missouri); second on the United States Junior Golf tour, after posting 10 top fives; and a second-place finish in the Pepsi Little People's Golf Championships which featured 782 junior golfers from 13 countries.
Trey, a First Tee of Northeast Arkansas participant, has been golfing since age 3.
Trey said he thinks he will do a lot better this year in the World Tournament because he has been playing against older kids.
As a first-grader, he played against third and fourth graders on the USJGT winning two tournaments, finishing second in three, one third, three fourth places and one fifth place finish on the national tour.
"It's pretty amazing, because I'm just 7. You are supposed to be 8 and 9 and some are 10 year olds," Trey said.
"We're proud of him finishing second," Trey's father said. "It's a big tour and there were some good little golfers. There's good competition."
The tour prepared Trey well for the June 16 World qualifier in St. Louis.
Trey will represent Arkansas in the World Tournament, giving his Missouri spot to his good friend Crimson Callahan of Chesterfield, Mo. Crimson came in second in both the Missouri and Arkansas qualifiers.
Trey trailed Crimson by five strokes after the first four holes, but finished up with birdie, birdie, birdie, par and eagle to force a playoff. Trey came back and won the playoff hole with a birdie.
"The little boy that was beating him came in ninth in the World last year, so he's a really good golfer," Thomas said. "Trey could have given up after being five shots down but he buckled down and focused in on what he needed to do. He did not give up."
Trey said he has learned never to give up.
The next week Crimson won the Pepsi Little People's Golf championship in Quincy, Ill. There were 35 children in the age group.
Trey pulled even with Crimson twice on the final day but came up short with a two-under finish.
"The Pepsi Little People was a big tournament," Thomas said. "It's the second biggest tournament to the U.S. Kids World Championships and he finished second."
Trey came out on top the next week in West Memphis winning one of the two Arkansas qualifying spots. The winner of the Russellville Tournament earned the other qualifying spot.
Trey's golf coach is Danny Riddle at Sage Meadows in Jonesboro. Trey enjoys golfing at Sage Meadows and Thunder Bayou and plays golf every day he can.
It has been a busy year for the family as Trey has played in a lot of tournaments.
"He's met a lot of people. It is a good learning experience for Trey," his father said. "He gets to meet a lot of people from other countries. You realize they're not any different from us. They are friendly and nice. He has made a lot of good friends through golf."
Trey and his dad teamed up for a father/son game on Father's Day while they were in Quincy, Ill. They paired up with a boy from South Africa and one from Colorado. Thomas and Trey started golfing together four years ago as a way to spend time together. They both enjoy the outdoors.
"Trey likes the sport and is having fun," Thomas said. "As long as he likes it and wants to go, I will take him."
Trey said he is looking forward to the World Tournament again. Last year he did not know exactly what to expect. He said it was a great experience. Forty-nine states and more than 20 countries sent golfers to the World Championships last year with 786 youths from all age groups participating. Trey finished 23rd out of 75 competitors in the six year old division last year.
Trey also keeps his grades up at Buffalo Island Central elementary where he will be going into the second grade this fall.
In addition to his golf, Trey enjoyed playing shortstop on the Monette Cardinal Machine Pitch baseball team this summer. His team finished second in the league. Trey was voted to the All Star team but the time conflicted with a golf tournament.
Trey is the grandson of Paul Stull and the late Geraldene Stull of Manila and Tom DePriest and the late Margarett DePriest of McCroy.