Nicholas Liakouras started playing golf when he was three years old. He's eight now. This Saturday he'll be on the big stage at Medinah. He's one of 32 finalists for the Ryder Cup Youth Skills Challenge. He's one of four finalists in his age group (6 to 8). The Challenge is a contest of driving, chipping and putting.
"He's very natural, very talented. He has a wonderful touch around the greens," said Todd Beckman the assistant pro at the Aldeen Golf Club. Beckman has been working with Liakouras.
"At a young age to watch someone chip and putt and practice hours on end with that kind of focus that doesn't happen that often," said Beckman. "That's a gift right there."
Reaching the Ryder Cup Youth Skills Finals is quite an accomplishment when you consider more than 3,000 golfers began participating this summer in local qualifiers.
When asked if he was nervous about the Finals Liakourias said, "not really." When asked if he thought he could beat the other three kids in his division he said, "Probably."
For reaching the Ryder Cup Youth Skills Challenge Finals Liakouras gets to attend a practice round for the main Ryder Cup event next week. If he wins his age group he'll receive additional prizes and VIP treatment during the tournament.
Liakouras is the son of John and Michelle Liakouras of Machesney Park.