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Focus and fun makes Bothell boy one of the best young golfers around - 12 Under 12

At 10 years old, he plays better than golfers twice his age. 12 Under 12 is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente.

KENMORE, Wash. — Do you know an inspirational kid under 12 that deserves recognition?Nominate them for 2020's 12 Under 12 Awards:  www.king5.com/12under12

Taighan Chea's love for golf didn't start on a putt-putt course. It started on TV.

"I watched this documentary on Netflix called The Short Game. They played in like this Junior Worlds. And I told my dad I wanted to play in it and he got me a set of clubs," said Taighan.

"Dad took him out to the golf course, got golf lessons, worked really hard," said Lynda Chea, Taighan’s mother.

Encouraged but never pushed by his parents, it was Taighan's work ethic that helped separate him from other kids his age.

"You know when kids are outside playing video games and stuff he wasn't doing that he was out playing golf," said Linda

Brian Flugstad has been a golf instructor for 9 years and is Taighan's coach. He says the focus and fun he has for the game go way beyond his young years.

"Taighan is different. His driven by internal factors not external. A lot of kids play for trophies and acknowledgment, he doesn't."

When he's not in school or practicing at Inglewood Golf Course in Kenmore, you can find him playing in tournaments up and down the west coast.

"He was winning like first place, second place, whatever and he won a couple of local tours and it was like oh, he's pretty good," said his Mom.

He got so good, last year he qualified for the national, Drive, Chip and Putt competition at the most famous golf course in the country.

"There's like 40 thousand kids who did it and only 10 kids make it to Augusta in my age group."

After finishing 3rd in drive and 2nd in chip, it all came down to his putting.

"It was actually the first time I've seen him nervous, to be honest with you he's normally calm cool and collective but you could tell he was nervous." said his coach.

"I was shivering goosebumps how nervous I was cause all the cameras and the crowd," said Taighan.

He may have been nervous, but his stroke was as confident as they come.

"I was just so happy for him, all the work he put in and to just see that joy come out of him was something that he had earned," said Brian.

"It was like I won the Masters," adds Taighan.

But even after his big win, he went right back to being a normal kid.

"After Drive, Chip and Putt he was like, oh I just want to go eat! He's like a 10-year-old boy, right?" said Lynda.

Hey may be 10 now, but the next time Taighan Chea plays Augusta, it might be for a green jacket.

"I worked really hard at it and now I'm here."

This May, Taighan will be heading to Scotland to play in the European Junior World Championships. 

12 Under 12 is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente. KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.