by Dane Lillingstone
GOLF: Five years ago he was selected in the North Queensland school's golf team and now one local 17-year-old has done it all again.
A strong showing in Ayr last weekend, where he placed second in a golf competition, was enough to send Mathew Bower to Toowoomba next month where he will compete for a spot in the state side.
Admitting it will be tough to make the Queensland side, the youngster said he would give it his best.
Bower first picked up a set of clubs when he was 10 and has been playing golf for the past seven years.
"My dad played a little bit. I gave it a go one day and liked it. Then stuck with it," he said.
The junior now spends about three afternoons a week out at the Proserpine Golf Course honing his skills.
"I usually get in nine holes after school," he said.
"Sometimes I'll just play nine holes or go on the practice fairway and just hit a lot of balls."
Bower is meticulous with his game and said being able to tinker with his technique was one of the reasons he loved to play.
"Even if you don't play well, you learn things from the round and you can improve and stuff like that," he said.
"(You) look back (and think) I could have done this, or that. Then you try and do it the next game."
After also making the North Queensland team in grade seven, Bower said he remembered how tough the competition was.
"It was a lot bigger than here and there were so many people. It really opened your eyes to how good the (competition) are," he said. "I was a bit nervous (but) I didn't do too bad."
Although he admits he's not sure what he wants to do after school is finished, he says he'll try to play golf as much as he can.
"(Turning professional) would be great but it's a hard thing to get into that. You've got to be pretty good," he said.
Naming American professional golfer Jordan Spieth as his favourite player to watch, Bower's own rivalry is on the green with his dad.
"I'm better than him now," Bower proclaims with a smile.
"I beat him most of the time, he's alright with it."
Bower will head to Toowoomba on July 16-19 for the Queensland School State Championships.