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Rising Star: Anna Davis

By Evan Rothman

| Apr 3, 2022

Southern California lefty Anna Davis is enjoying a meteoric rise in junior and amateur golf over the past year. (USGA/Robert Beck)

The following content was first published in Golf Journal, a quarterly print and monthly digital publication exclusively for USGA Members. To be among the first to receive Golf Journal and to learn how you can help make golf more open for all, become a USGA Member today.

Editor's Note: Since this piece was published in the Winter 2021 issue of Golf Journal magazine,  Anna Davis registered the biggest victory of her young career, capturing the 3rd Augusta National Women's Amateur on April 2 by one stroke to earn exemptions into the 2022 U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N.C., and the 2022 U.S. Women's Amateur at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash. She also is exempt into the 2022 U.S. Girls' Junior at The Club Olde Stone in Bowling Green, Ky.


The year 2021 was a good one for left-handed golfers from San Diego. Two months after Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island Resort’s Ocean Course to become, at 50, golf’s oldest-ever major champion, high school sophomore Anna Davis, at 15, captured the Girls Junior PGA at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., by a whopping 7 strokes. The similarities don’t end there: Neither player is in fact left-handed.

“Lefty” learned the game by standing in front of and mirroring his father’s right-handed swing. Davis’ southpaw story is odder.

“When I was 2 or 3 years old, I used to do everything left-handed, but then just as my parents were about to get me golf clubs, I started doing everything right-handed,” said Davis, who turned 16 on March 17. “They were, like, what? Still, they got me left-handed clubs.”

Welcome to a lifetime of “You’re standing on the wrong side of the ball” jokes. (“I’ve heard that one a million times,” Davis said, groaning.) Other than that, the choice has worked out beautifully. Davis first came to prominence early this year with a victory in the AJGA Ping Heather Farr Classic, propelled by deadeye approach play, the strength of her game.

“Winning the Heather Farr was kind of a surprise, given my ranking at the time,” she said. “Suddenly, I got into a lot more top events. It was a confidence boost, and confidence is big. I had a revelation where, hey, I can definitely beat these girls.”     

Which she did in style with rounds of 69-68-73-67 at the Girls Junior PGA, skyrocketing her Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking from No. 1,400 to No. 400 and earning Davis a trip to the 2021 Ryder Cup at Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits as a member of the USA Junior Ryder Cup Team. Her ultimate goal is to reach the LPGA Tour. Asked to name the best-ever left-handed woman golfer, Davis draws a blank. “Anna Davis?” she laughs. Well, Anna, Bonnie Bryant won the 1978 Bill Branch LPGA Classic, Julia Potter-Bobb has won two U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateurs (2013, 2016), and Erica Shepherd won the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball, but the mantle may ultimately be within your reach. 

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