very junior golfer wants to be like Tiger Woods, and Domenico Geminiani is no exception. However, it wasn't that long ago that he also wanted to be like Roger Federer.
That's the reason his father, Roberto Geminiani, brought him and his brother, Sergio, 15, to the Bradenton area in 2001 from Italy. They came to attend Nick Bollettieri's Tennis Academy at IMG.
But they changed their minds and became golf fanatics.
"I don't know why," said Roberto. "But I told them whatever they do, I want them to give 100 percent."
Domenico, only 11, may be the area's closest Tiger replica.
He closed a great 2007 golf year by winning the prestigious Doral- Publix Junior Classic (10-11 age group) at the Doral Resort in Miami.
In the first round, he made eight birdies en route to shooting a 66 to take a two-stroke lead over Tanner Owen, the No. 1-ranked player in the U.S. in his age group. In the final round, Domenico fired a 71 for a 4-stroke victory over Sam Horsefield.
It was Geminiani's second victory in the Doral. He also won in 2004 in the 8-9 age group.
Just like Tiger finished strong in 2007, it was a fantastic year for the 5-foot-5, 120-pounder. He won The Tournament of Champions in Tampa, The Italian Championship under-12 in Italy, the Sarasota City Junior Championship under-14, the Junior Players Tour event at "The Majors" in the combined age group 14-18 age group, beating an international field of very good players.
"I am not saying it because he is my son, but he is a gifted kid," said Roberto.
"His mental approach is so far advanced," said Jacques Panet- Raymond, a master pro at Gulf Coast Golf Academy. "He's a very intelligent kid."
After a couple of days of celebrating, he put his Doral trophy in his bedroom. Then it was back to the practice range at Stoneybrook at Heritage Harbour along with his brother and two friends visiting from Italy for the Christmas holidays.
Domenico hits his driver about 265 yards, but that is not his strength, according to Panet-Raymond.
"His short game is second to none," said Panet-Raymond, who also supervises his conditioning.
He spends hours on the driving range, and after dinner, he doesn't go to bed until he makes 100 putts in a row on a putting area in the family living room. He once made 301 consecutive putts, a family record.
Domenico attends Edison Academic Center in Bradenton.
In other junior golf news, Jordan Rizzo, a student at Leadbetter's at IMG Academy, had two strong showings in Future Collegians World Tour tournaments. Rizzo finished first at the University of Florida and second at Champions Gate.
Former Leadbetter students do well
Two former students at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy at IMG Academy in Bradenton did well in the recent LPGA Qualifying.
Carolina Llano, a postgraduate student who began training at DLGA in January 2007, has qualified for the 2008 LPGA Tour with full exemption. A native of Medellin, Colombia, Carolina attended Pepperdine University as an international business major. She turned pro in 2006.
Taylor Leon, a Dallas native and former five-year student at DLGA, has received her 2008 LPGA conditional card.