Aspen golfer locks up spot at Junior Worlds |

Aspen golfer locks up spot at Junior Worlds

Nate PetersonThe Aspen Times Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN Modest and well-spoken, Aspen’s Clayton Crawford is the model 11-year-old to represent Colorado at next month’s Junior World Golf Championships in San Diego.

And that’s not even mentioning Crawford’s golf game – which, despite his unassuming presence, is something to brag about.Take last week’s Colorado Junior Qualifier at Denver’s Springhill Golf Course where Crawford showed up “just wanting to play well” and ended up winning by seven strokes. Yes, seven strokes. In one round of 18. Against 33 of the state’s best 11- and 12-year-old golfers. “I knew I was doing pretty well during my round,” said Crawford last week while back home in Aspen. “I knew there were other good kids in the tournament, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be up there or not. … It was nice when I found out I won.”

That’s one way to put it.Now, Crawford gets the chance to square off against the best golfers in his age class from around the country at the July 15-18 championships in San Diego. He’ll also get to carry his state’s flag at the opening ceremonies of the championships, which feature six different age class tournaments for boys and girls between ages 6 and 17.Crawford’s 11-12 boys division will play its three rounds of golf at the elegant Lake San Marcos Country Club.An admirer of Tiger Woods, Crawford, who will be in seventh grade in the fall at Aspen Middle School, said his dream is to earn a golf scholarship one day and play at the Division I level. Four years ago, Crawford began playing competitively in par-3 tournaments at the Ranch at Roaring Fork in Carbondale. He’s since graduated to much larger draws, especially this past winter when he traveled to Arizona and Texas to play in three different stops on the Future Collegians World Tour.

While not playing, Crawford has continued to work with coaches at Aspen Junior Golf, most notably AJG’s director Alden Richards. Crawford credits Richards with helping him learn how to maintain his focus on the golf course, regardless of the situation.”He helps me so much,” Crawford said of his head coach. “I just try to shoot my best score and I don’t worry about the opponents.”