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"Notah Begay III (NB3) National Championship: Celebrating Champions!"

Boys 10-11 yr old National Champion Kai Molina holding one of his first place trophies.

Introducing Kai Molina, the Notah Begay III (NB3) Boys 10-11-Year-Old National Champion! (Part 3 of 8-part series highlighting all age division winners).

Girls and Boys ages 10-18 yrs old - 2023 NB3 National Champions!

TJG: Congratulations, Kai, on your national championship win a few months ago at the NB3 National Championship in Louisiana at Coushatta Resort and Casino. What were your initial goals or expectations going into the National Championship?
Kai: I had made the national finals in 2022 but being on the younger side, I could only watch all the older kids reach all the par 5’s in two while I had to lay everything up. Going into the finals in 2023, I knew I could reach some of the par 5’s in two now, and had a better chance at winning. My goal was to shoot 12 under and just see what happens. I wasn’t feeling anxious to win or anything, just played my game each day. The last day I did feel a lot of pressure which affected my game, but during the play-off I was actually calm, and I made my winning 20 foot putt.

TJG: Talk about the highlights and your overall experience of not only playing in but winning the NB3 National Championship. What part of your game was on fire for the week?
Kai: My highlights were making 10 birdies on round 1 (-8) and a 7 birdie bogey free round 2 (-7). The one part of my game that I practice a lot is my iron game. I want to make sure I get on the green and give myself birdie chances. At NB3, I was leaving many shots within 6 feet of the hole, and that’s how I made so many birdies.

TJG: Talk about how well this tournament is run overall.
Kai: NB3 is hands down the best run tournament I have ever been to. From the welcome event, to the putting and long drive contests, to the dinner every night and even a banquet, everything is top notch.

TJG: How well do you like Koasati Golf Course?
Kai: The two times I have been at Koasati, it has been in great condition and the greens rolled pure. Also, the course is the perfect balance of risk-reward. For example, almost all of the par 5’s have water hazards in middle of the fairway and you need to decide if you want to do the risky shot and carry it so you can get on in two, or lay it up and not be able to reach in two.

TJG: Rank this tournament win in your Jr career.
Kai: I think this is the win I am most proud of, not only because it’s a national tournament that thousands of players tried to qualify their way in, but also because I had to win it in a playoff by sinking a 20ft putt in front of the crowds and Golf Channel’s cameras.

TJG: Are you excited to go back to Coushatta to defend your title next year?
Kai: I’m very excited to go back. I will be moving up in age divisions (12-13y) so I will need to play against the defending champ of that age division, Maverick Midthun, and against the other older boys. But it’s a good test to see where my game is at.

Rapid Fire Q’s:
• Graduation year: 2029
• What’s in your bag: I am fortunate to be sponsored by TaylorMade from driver down to the putter.
• Best part of your golf game: My iron game is the best part of my game. I have always been a good ball striker.
• Biggest goal in golf: To play professional golf one day.
• Favorite golfers: Scottie Scheffler, Colin Morikawa.
• Favorite class in school? I like Math and Science the best.
• One interesting thing about you. I am 50% Chinese and 50% Colombian and I can speak Chinese fluently.
• Did we miss anything you’d like to say? “See you at Coushatta!”
• Where can we find you on social media? Instagram @kai.the.ironguy.

Kai with Notah Begay III