Cheycoda Cocks in action. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Cheycoda Cocks hopes her success on the golf course in recent years can provide inspiration to other young Maori athletes in the region.

The 17-year-old Wairarapa College student has not set a personal goal of playing professionally, but at the rate she is going it seems that is only a matter of time.

Cocks has only been playing the sport for about three years, but already her list of achievements is impressive.

She was named secondary school sportswoman of the year for 2017 at the Wairarapa Maori Sports Awards, and was also a top four finalist in the same category at the Wairarapa Secondary School Sports Awards.

Just receiving a nomination came as a massive surprise to the talented golfer.

“I was surprised because I thought everyone in the top four for the Wairarapa secondary schools had worked harder than me, and I didn’t think I would get anywhere near there.

“They had all put so much effort in.”

She was up against her cousin at the Maori Sports Awards, and said she was “speechless” when her name was called out.

Golf runs in the family for Cocks, and she said the main reason she decided to give it a go was because her parents were both avid golfers.

In the last couple of years she has been crowned Mahunga Golf Club women’s club champion (2016 and 2017), Wairarapa College Falloon Cup winner (2016 and 2017) and Wairarapa Junior Golfing Society winner (2016).

She has also represented Wairarapa women, and the Wellington Junior Development Team.

But it was her efforts for the Wellington Under-19 Junior Girls’ Team which won the National Interprovincials in Rotorua last year that stood out as a highlight.

She sunk a 15-foot birdie putt in the final to send it to a sudden death playoff, where Wellington were eventually crowned winners.

“I didn’t really think about it [the pressure on that putt] at first — I didn’t know how the other players went so I didn’t know I needed the putt for the win.”

She hoped her success would provide an opportunity to act as a role model to other Maori athletes in the region, and said she had a couple of goals in place for 2018.

“I want to keep doing Wellington Interprovincials, playing for Wellington and getting into more teams for different things.

“I’m just playing to have fun at the moment, but we’ll see how it goes.”