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Hempfield junior captures another Tri-State PGA Kings Restaurants junior golf tour title

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Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

At age 4, Javon Trout says he first picked up a golf club. By 5, he was entering competitive tournaments.

In the dozen years since, he's won more than his share of them. But one thing the Hempfield rising junior has never done? Take a golf lesson.

“It's a really God-given gift,” said Trout, who wrapped up his second consecutive Tri-State PGA Kings Restaurants junior golf tour championship last week. “It just came natural; I've never been taught — God just gave me a gift.”

The latest manifestation of that came when he accumulated 393 points in the 15-16 age bracket of this summer's Kings Tour — that was almost 100 points better than runner-up Nic Leone's 294.

Trout won five of the 11 Kings events he entered this season and was runner-up in two others. His two most recent wins came within three days of each other, July 22 at Green Oaks Country Club and July 24 at Grandview Golf Club.

He placed second at the tournament at Ligonier Valley July 29 before placing fifth at the season-ending championship tournament Aug. 7 at Nemacolin Woodlands.

Trout defended his tour title from last summer in the 15-16 age group.

“It takes a lot of practice, and you've got to have the Lord on your side,” said Trout, a member of the Greensburg Alliance Church. “I'm a really big believer in Him, and he's helped me through a lot, so that helps me a lot. But I also do practice a ton.”

Trout feels blessed just to be able to practice — or to even celebrate his 17th birthday, as he did Tuesday. At age 2, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Although he underwent surgery to remove most of the harmful growth, a noncancerous portion remains behind his eye.

When he was a little older, Trout underwent another surgery, this one to have a shunt inserted to relieve pressure on his brain and drain fluid into his torso.

His prognosis has improved to the point he only requires doctor's visits once every 18 months. Trout said that has left him feeling “quite blessed.”

“Like I said before, God has a really big plan for me,” Trout said. “He wanted me alive, I guess, so yeah I'm really happy to be alive, and I want to spread the Lord around and tell everybody He's who he is, and that's why I'm still here today.”

Trout's longterm golf goals include playing at the college level.

“(And) we'll see — hopefully I can play (professionally),” he said.

For now, the most immediate focus is the high school golf team he helped to the WPIAL Class AAA team semifinals last season.

Trout also placed among the top 20 at the WPIAL individual championships as a sophomore. He's hoping to qualify for the PIAA championships this season both as an individual and with the Hempfield team.

Trout also is an accomplished bowler who helped the Spartans to the state championships in that sport. But it's golf in which he's earned the most accolades. A member at Hannastown Golf Club, Trout said he plays and/or practices almost daily.

“I probably want to work on getting a little bit closer (on approach shots),” Trout said. “When I'm really ‘on,' it's my irons and short game, putting.

“My game this summer... right now, it's pretty good.”

Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.

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