How this teen became a championship-winning golfer
TAIYA Hancock's love for golf can be traced to school holidays spent on the course with her grandmother.
It was a way for Hancock to spend time with her family, but has become an integral part of the now- 16-year-old's life.
But how did Hancock, a volunteer surf life saver, currently injured netballer and junior swimming champion, turn what was an interest in the mentally tough sport of golf into a possible career?
The change started just more than one year ago.
"I got my 18-hole handicap, started off on the worst you can possibly start on, then slowly progressed my way up and came through the grades,” Hancock said.
"I guess it's just listening to coaches, working on the swing, coming out to practice - just being as dedicated as possible.”
That dedication saw the teenager unexpectedly clinch the Hervey Bay Ladies Championship by a massive 10 strokes.
"I walked into it thinking if you go well you go well, and if you don't well too bad,” she said. "I wasn't expecting that at all.”
Down by one shot early, she streaked away to lead by five shots at the end of the second round.
Hancock said she was nervous when she approached the third round but she managed to repeat her second-round heroics.
"My stomach was in knots,” Hancock said.
"With the nerves you just put your energy into the ball. When you're with other people you can talk to them, you're all in the same boat so can talk it out.”
One of Hancock's biggest turning points came when Hervey Bay's male champ Michael Hogan took her under his wing for last year's Holden Scramble.
While he passed on the advice that has made him one of the Fraser Coast's best and most consistent golfers during the national ambrose tournament, Hogan has helped coach Hancock in the time since.
That included his acting as Hancock's caddy for the third round of the ladies championship, which she said helped keep her focused on the task, and to maintain her form on the course.
"When I first started it was just a bit of fun to see how I go,” she said. "But as (the handicap) has come down we've started to get into and now it's where it is I'm starting to look at career paths like traineeships.”
She will go to Bundaberg for the Golf Wide Bay District Open & Closed Championships on Saturday, with the Queensland Girls Amateur Championships at Bargara from June 27 to 30.