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Preteen Golf Phenom Keeps Winning One Year After A Judge Banned Her From Competition

Her parents are in a difficult custody battle.

Last year, a 10-year-old golf phenom from north Virginia was ordered by a judge to stop playing competitively for one year as part of a seven-year custody battle between her parents, Michael Vechery and Florence Cottet-Moine. According to the girl’s father, she had won 22 out of 33 kids tournaments in the past two years. “She is ready to obtain a scholarship to college and here she is only 10 years old,” Vechery told ABC News.

Although it’s not uncommon for judges to limit a child’s activities as part of a custody battle, the decision was noteworthy given her dominance in the sport. Judge Jeanette Irby of the Circuit Court of Loudoun County, Virginia, ruled the child “shall not be permitted to play competitive golf for one year,” defining competitive golf “as no tournament and no lessons with any golf pro with the exception of the father. The father and [child] may play no more than one round of golf per week for five hours with putting and practice whichever is greater.”

Image via ABC News/YouTube.

The judge never publicly commented on the ban, but according to ABC News, his decision may have, in part, been at the mother’s behest. “There must be more because the legal standard is what is in the best interest of the child,” ABC News’ legal analyst, Sunny Hostin said at the time of the ruling. “This decision came after a full hearing and a trial, so my sense is there’s more to this story we haven’t heard from the mother, even though we reached out for comment.”

In May 2017, the ban was lifted and the child prodigy was able to golf again, and her game was as good as ever. She won a U.S. Kids Golf event in Maryland, and then went on to finish first in six of the next seven youth tournaments she entered. Now 11 years old, she even had a golf lesson with PGA legend Lee Trevino who was blown away by her abilities. “The swing’s perfect. I wouldn’t touch that swing with a 10-foot pole,” Trevino told Deadspin. “For an 11-year-old, she’s got as good a swing as I’ve seen.”

One hopes the girl’s parents are able to settle their differences so she can flourish into a professional player. In a sworn deposition, Kris Tschetter, a former LPGA player said the girl is a “phenom” and able to play at the college level even though she isn’t a teenager yet. “Does she have the talent to be a national level golfer?” Tschetter was asked during the deposition. “Absolutely,” she said. “You don’t want to mess with that.”

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