It’s not every day that we get to focus on golfers in this section. It’s also rare to write about someone who was named an All-American in golf.
So here’s a first. West New York resident Kuriko Tsukiyama was recently named to the Rolex Junior All-American team.
The 17-year-old Tsukiyama has called West New York her home for the last two years. She is a home schooled student who has already given a verbal commitment to the University of Arizona.
Tsukiyama was interviewed from Florida, where she’s getting ready for the Rolex Senior Girls Cup tournament in Bradenton, Fla.
Of course, the ultimate goal is to become a professional golfer. She’s already won some impressive tournaments. In 2010, at age 14, she became the youngest golfer to ever win the New Jersey State Golf Association’s Women’s Amateur title. That year, she also won a junior national title, so she’s well on her way.
Tsukiyama likes living in West New York.
“It’s a great place, with a nice view of the New York skyline, which is one of a kind,” Tsukiyama said.
She was just 7 years old when she started to play golf with her father, Osamu.
“He had been playing for a while recreationally,” Tsukiyama said. “I wanted to go with him and he finally agreed. He was glad that one of his children decided to go play golf with him.”
Kuriko has one older sister and two older brothers.
Tsukiyama became more and more interested in golf.
“I really loved playing golf and wanted to play all the time,” Tsukiyama said. “I played in my first US Kids World Championship and thought I’d go for it. Now, I still have fun, but it is a major part of my life.”
Tsukiyama does a lot of travelling playing golf, thus the reason to be home schooled.
“It’s nice to have the flexibility, but it’s hard to keep myself on track,” Tsukiyama said. “There’s no one to monitor me.”
Tsukiyama is just beginning her career in golf.
“I am going to concentrate on the AJGA [American Junior Golf Association] tournaments and some invitational tournaments,” Tsukiyama said. “I’d like to see what I could do on the world level. It’s really exciting now. I feel I can compete at the top level.”
She’s also been working with former New Jersey resident David Glenz, who is now her teacher at the Club Med Academy in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
“I started with him four years ago,” Tsukiyama said. “He’s been great.”
Tsukiyama will return home to West New York this week for Thanksgiving.
“It will be great to go back and see my family again,” Tsukiyama said. “I haven’t seen them since the beginning of September. It’s a long time to be away from my family. I have a good time being there.”
Tsukiyama was told that she’s the first-ever All-American in golf to come from Hudson County.
“It’s a huge honor,” Tsukiyama said. “I didn’t realize that. It’s great to be the first in anything. I can’t believe I am an All-American. It’s just motivation to keep moving forward.”
Tsukiyama has no idea what she plans on studying at the University of Arizona.
“I’ve discussed it with my family, but I don’t know yet,” Tsukiyama said. “It’s such a great university for golf. I’m very enthusiastic and I can’t wait.”
And who knows? Maybe West New York can claim its very first golf champion sometime soon…
Congrats to North Bergen softball pitching ace Jessica Feria, who received an excellent scholarship/aid package to attend Mercy College in New York next fall. Mercy is a solid Division II program and Feria, the Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year last spring, should fit in well there…
Congrats to Weehawken head coach Zach Naszimento, who was named as the Lou Rettino Memorial Coach of the Week by the New York Giants. It’s an honor well deserved for young Naszimento, who has guided the Indians to a 7-2 record this season…
Sad news to report in the sudden passing of Joe Perrenod, who spent time playing football at both St. Peter’s Prep and Secaucus, eventually graduating from Secaucus and then moving on to play football at Montclair State. In recent years, Perrenod was an assistant football coach at St. Peter’s Prep and with the Secaucus Recreation program. He was a solid young man who was too young to die at age 37. He will be sorely missed…
With the NJSIAA football state playoffs beginning this weekend, it’s time for the old wide one to make his gigantic return, coming out of hibernation wearing his turban, waving his magic wand over his crystal ball. Yes, the Great Hagueini has arrived in time to pick this weekend’s action. And remember, don’t use Hagueini’s selections for any wages, unless it’s for a turkey Panini and a bottle of grape flavored water with your Uncle Looie.
Dayton Regional at Hoboken, North 2, Group I: There is no way a team from Springfield knows what it’s like to come to the Mile Square City, still reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and face the speedy Red Wings, led by Donte Carter. Hoboken 28, Springfield 14.
Weehawken at Dunellen, North 2, Group I: People in the Indians’ camp were sending out early info that Weehawken would play a home game in the playoffs for the first time ever. That wasn’t the case. But it is the Indians’ first postseason trip since 2003. Still, do-everything Damien Corredor will lead the Indians to a first-ever showdown in two weeks against Hoboken, getting everyone excited locally. Weehawken 24, Dunellen 10.
Secaucus at Roselle Park, North 2, Group I: Yes, a third Hudson County team earned a berth in the same bracket. Although the Patriots have not been as tough as other Secaucus teams in the past, they did play a brutal schedule. It’s a winnable game for the Pats, but the crystal ball sees the home team. Roselle Park 21, Secaucus 14.
Lincoln at Caldwell, North 2, Group II: Lincoln lost to the same Caldwell team in 2008 and heads back maybe looking for revenge. Maybe? Not really. Caldwell 28, Lincoln 14.
Ferris at Irvington, North 2, Group III: Believe it or not, John Conroy’s Bulldogs are a playoff team with a 4-5 record. They have enjoyed some success this year, but you can’t expect them to knock off the top seed. Irvington 35, Ferris 13.
North Bergen at Union City, North 1, Group V: It will be the fourth time in the last two years that the two neighboring rivals would have locked horn. There are a lot of Soaring Eagles who still can’t believe they lost last year’s sectional semifinal game in overtime. A win this week eases the pain a little. Union City 21, North Bergen 7.
Hudson Catholic at Morristown-Beard, Non-Public Group 1: The surprising Hawks of coach Lou Zampella, making their first playoff appearance since the state title game in 2008, will live to see another week. Hudson Catholic 22, Morristown-Beard 14.
Queen of Peace at St. Anthony, Non-Public Group 1: The Friars get the chance to play a 2-7 team in the state playoffs. Derek Sims, Nile Trent and the Friars will be more than ready. St. Anthony 35, Queen of Peace 7.
Montclair Kimberley Academy at Marist, Non-Public Group 2: The Royal Knights are making their first appearance since 2005 and they get a home game to boot. The magical season for Dwayne Williams’ team continues. Marist 26, MKA 14.
Seton Hall Prep at St. Peter’s Prep, Non-Public Group 4: The Marauders haven’t played since the last week of October, when they trounced North Bergen to win their 13th consecutive Hudson County title. They will be loaded for bear. St. Peter’s Prep 42, Seton Hall Prep 0.
Still, it’s a great year for Hudson County football, when 11 different teams qualify for the state tournament. The respective teams and coaches have a reason to be proud. We’ll see how Hagueini did next week…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.