AF teen invited to 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

AF teen invited to 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio

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Posted: Monday, April 25, 2011 8:00 am | Updated: 3:34 pm, Sat Dec 22, 2012.

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Alexis Monet Flores has already been offered the opportunity of a lifetime, and she's not yet a teenager.

Flores, 12, was invited to be one of two women on the Guatemalan national golf team for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janerio. She was courted by the country's Olympic committee when she was playing a tournament in Guatemala in December 2010.

Her list of victories is long but being invited to play for Guatemala, of which she is a dual-citizen with the U.S., is her most significant tournament yet. Flores has played in international competitions already in which she has represented Guatemala. But she said she probably won't be nervous, even if it is the Olympics.

"I prepare so that I would never get nervous," she said. "My dad always said, ‘Do what you do best,' and that's what I come out and do."

Flores has excelled in international competition. She has won her age group at the U.S. Kids Gold European Championship (for kids ages 16 and under) three times and will be returning for a fourth later this year. Flores attributes her success thus far to her father's coaching and her desire to learn about a game that can cause frustration in even the most collected of golfers.

"I'm the type of person, I need to know everything about everything," she said. "I like learning about the game and what I know so far, it's something where you have to learn to pick your battles."

Flores, who is home-schooled, first picked up a club at 2 years old. Her father, Herbert Flores, did not want her to start until she was 6, but when he saw her playing around with a club back then he knew she was going to be something special.

"I could just tell and it has been such an exciting time for Monet and our family," he said. "Even if it were all to end tomorrow, it's been an amazing experience up until now."

But his daughter expects to play in the Olympics and so does the Guatemala government. They will be funding her training for the next six years, including opportunities to travel around the world and play in tournaments with the very best golfers.

"They told us, ‘think outside the box,'" Herbert Flores said. "They talked about getting a swing coach, a putting coach, a sports psychologist and more. They said, ‘You have to think of everything.'"

Monet, as she likes to be called by her middle name, knows she has a lot of time before the Olympics, but she is also looking forward to something that will take place around the same time - college.

"I want to go to college no matter where this (golf) leads me and I am looking forward to it," she said.

But for now, Flores will focus on what she has for the majority of her young life - improving the different aspects of her game.

"I have a love of golf that I don't think will go away anytime soon," she said.

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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