MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There’s a budding name in the girls golf game in Memphis. Claire Hollingsworth, freshman at St. Benedict at Auburndale. As a freshman, she made it to state, as an individual.
She’s also made a name on the national stage. LPGA Girls Golf reached out to Hollingsworth to enter a competition. She wrote an essay to the prompt, “Where do you get your drive?”
“I wanted to say being small drives me to do well in golf and in school. And you can do golf if you can do golf if you have obstacles. And my obstacle is being small,” she said.
Her essay was one of 18 selected. She now has a commercial to capture her story, which goes much deeper than golf.
Claire stands at 4′9″. She uses the slogan small, but mighty as she’s overcome much more than being small in stature in her 14 years.
“It was two days after I was born I was left in a small wooden box near an orphanage,” Claire recalled.
That was in China. Halfway around the world, Gretchen and Lance Hollingsworth were thinking of adopting.
“I started having this dream and it was three nights in a row and it was we’re going to China, we’re going to adopt a little girl and her name was going to be Claire,” Gretchen Hollingsworth remembered.
Something she said was clearly meant to be. 26 months later, the Hollingsworth welcomed Claire into their family. One that loved the game of golf.
“My husband had a cheap little pair of clubs on our driveway and one of those fake grass mats and he taught her how to line up and how to grip the ball and she just hit that ball and at that point he said oh yeah she’s playing golf,” Gretchen added.
So Claire went from spending weekends on the course watching her older brother Jesse, to three years ago, picking up the sport herself and finding fast success as her dreams keep on building.
“I want to place top 10 at state and big goals is get a scholarship to college,” Claire said. Goals everyone in her corner have fully believe she can achieve.
“She came her every single day to practice she sees her coach every week,” her mom said. “She doesn’t stop on the off-season. We don’t have to ask her to play, she asks us. She’s just extremely driven.”
“I’m so lucky to be adopted because over there sometimes you don’t get opportunities to play golf," Claire added. "You just kind of have to do what everyone else does.”
Claire’s story got into the hands of LPGA golfer, Lydia Ko. Ko loved it so much she reached out to Claire. They met on Zoom where Claire asked her for advice on how to improve her game while being small. Ko then sent her a pair of signed shoes.