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.