Big Putts & Plenty of Excitement: The Axel Monssoh Story
By Kent Paisley
Axel Monssoh of Team Florida marks a ball during the first round of the 2022 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club on October 7, 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona. (Photo by Darren Carroll/PGA of America)
It's a classic story kids tell themselves on practice greens. A final putt, however long, to win a particular tournament.
For 10-year-old Axel Monssoh, that hypothetical became a reality as the 10-year-old stared down a must-make putt from 20 feet with plenty of break, following an hour and a half rain delay to qualify for the 2022 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship.
In that critical moment for Team Orlando, there wasn't a morsel of fear for Monssoh.
"I was pretty confident over the putt because I didn't have any doubts on it," Monssoh said, "So I was just telling myself that I couldn't leave it short because I knew that the other team had already made their putt. So I had to go for it.”
"So I just trusted the putt, and luckily, it just rolled in the hole."
Monssoh's confidence comes from an impressive tournament track record at a young age. Over the summer, at the IMG World Championships in Southern California, Monssoh stood on the 16th tee, knowing he needed to go two under over his last three holes to get into a playoff. He proceeded to birdie the 16th and 17th and parred the 18th.
While not winning the playoff, he maintains a healthy perspective on his accomplishment.
"Though I did not win the playoff for winning the whole championship," Monssoh said, "I made a really good comeback to even get into that playoff."
Now he takes on a leadership role for Team Florida at the 2022 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship. He encourages having fun, high-fiving teammates, and pumping each other up by giving compliments. It leads to more trust in each other and fuels confidence in the decisions they make on the course. Team practices often focus on strategies, emphasizing for each duo to focus on what they do best.
Monssoh, whose teammate is older than him, will often hit into the fairway to allow his partner to take an aggressive tee shot or even go for the green. Then, if they're chipping, his teammate will try to knock it close so Monssoh can try to chip it in.
"We try to make the smartest decision possible," Monssoh said, "and just try to do our best while making smart decisions because one mistake could cost us the whole match. So we try to stay in it."
Now Monssoh gets the opportunity to participate in one of his favorite parts of the game: meeting new friends and playing new golf courses. With his close teammates and friends, he's thrilled to participate in the 2022 National Car Rental PGA Jr. League Championship.
"I heard a lot of great stories of going to Nationals," Monssoh said, "and how they got there and the journey there. So it's really amazing, and I'm really excited for the National Championship because I think I'm going to really enjoy it."