A young woman from the Northwest won the Junior Golf Association of Arizona Junior World qualifier by seven strokes, earning a trip to California.

Morgan Messick, 12, stepped up to the Callaway Junior World Golf Championships near San Diego with peers from across the planet – North America, Asia and beyond.

"I didn't do very good," she said on the drive back from California to Phoenix, where she was scheduled to play another tournament. "I didn't make the cut, but it was a great experience."

Messick played 36 holes at the Country Club of Rancho Bernardo near San Diego. She was matched with two players from California, one from Virginia and another from Singapore over two days.

The course was "hard," with lots of hills, trees and thick rough. "It was challenging for me," she said.

The three-year golfer is not discouraged by the result.

"I love it," she said of the game. "It's always challenging. You can never be to your maximum, you can always get better, and there's always competition somewhere else, so it's a lot of fun."

She plays plenty of summer tournaments, and is "always practicing. It starts to slow down when school starts."

Messick has lofty aspirations.

"I want to play through college, and try to make the U of A team," Messick said, "and try to go on the LPGA. It'd be a lot of work. I need to practice drills, the mental side of the game, a lot. That's what's lacking."

Her strengths are fairway woods and driving off the tee. Weaknesses are short irons and "around the greens. That's what I need to practice."

Morgan, who does most of her golfing at Silverbell, is the daughter of Monti and Margo Messick. She is a seventh-grade student at Cross Middle School.

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