Golf’s Budding Rivalry Involves A Pair of 10-Year-Olds

GALLOWAY, NJ - JUNE 3: Paula Creamer hits her second shot on the second hole during the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic on the Bay Course at Seaview Resort on June 3, 2012 in Galloway, New Jersey. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Karah Sanford and Latanna Stone have been competing for years -- and each is only 10 years old.

There’s an interesting golf rivalry brewing and it has nothing to do with Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson/Ernie Els, Yani Tseng vs. Lexi Thompson, or Tiger Woods vs. The New Breed. It most certainly, however, involves The Next Generation.

Latanna Stone made headlines this week by becoming the youngest golfer ever to qualify for a U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. The 10-year-old from Florida carded a tourney-low 70 in a qualifier earlier this month and will play in the August tournament at The Country Club in Cleveland.

One of Stone’s admirers was none other than Karah Sanford, who tweeted congratulations to her sometime opponent for a job well done.

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Karah Sanford has been known to blast a drive 180 yards straight down the fairway (Photo: karahsanford.com)

Sanford, like Stone, is 10, and a championship golfer who has had designs on qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open at a younger age than anyone before her. Stone, who boasts more than 100 tourney wins on her impressive resume, said two years ago that she aimed for Open eligibility by the time she was 10.

Sanford, who models herself after LPGA star Paula Creamer, has also hit the century mark in victories and told us early last year that she was content with waiting until 2014 to qualify for the Open. With her birthday on February 19th, Sanford, should she qualify, would be nine days younger than Thompson, who played her way into the event when she was 12.

While such an accomplishment would not put Sanford in the record books as the youngest Open player ever -- that honor belongs to Beverly Klass, who was 10 when she played the qualifier-less Open in 1967 -- the youngster from California may have adjusted her aspirations since Stone’s recent feat went viral.

"Karah beat Latanna by 12 strokes 2 years ago," Sanford said Tuesday via an e-mail message that contained a link to results of a Junior World Golf Championship event back in July 2010 that showed Sanford atop the leaderboard at 3-over for the three-day contest. "I thought it was prob too soon for usga - guess not! Next Year"

While the competition between the two promising prodigies looks to be something of a toss-up so far (Stone's website features a photo of a U.S. Kids Golf leaderboard showing her defeating Sanford by eight at a 7-and-under event), Stone did have a leg up in experience. A latecomer to the game by Stone’s standards, Sanford took up golf when she was three; Stone was already swinging away at the age of two.

Game on, young ladies.

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