Young Dominick Moreira can always tell when he is going to have a good game. Every time he steps onto the golf course, he says a prayer. He asks God if his late father can come down and watch him play.
He recalls a shot as he prepared for the 10th annual Pinehurst World Championship Tournament in North Carolina. He was finishing his last hole, and as he swung his putter, he heard a bird chirp. Dominick sank the 20-foot putt to finish a round of 68.
“I can tell when I’m going to have a good shot,” says Dominick, a Mesa 11-year-old. “When I hear a bird chirp, I pray and ask my dad to be with me.”
Dominick started playing golf when he was about 5-years-old. He and his brother Derrick, 15, asked their father Mario if he could teach them how to play. Mario was a long-time soccer coach but jumped at the opportunity to teach his sons the game.
Unfortunately, a car accident in 2005 left Mario with failing kidneys. Eleven months later, Mario was in the ICU fighting for his life. As his health worsened, however, his sons’ games got better, especially Dominick’s.
In 2006, with Mario in the hospital, Dominick won his first U.S. Kids Player of the Year Cup. Two weeks later, Mario passed away. Since then, Dominick has won the cup six years in a row.
“Everybody calls him Dominick the Dominator because of his drive,” says Dominick’s mother Kimberlee Moreira.
It was the Moreira’s unique story that caught the attention of Christopher Carme, Junior program manager for U.S. Kids Golf. Carme said in a release that he was touched by Dominick’s story.
“His story was so tragic, inspirational, and humanistic that we had to make sure he got to Pinehurst to compete in the World Championship,” Carme said.
U.S. Kids Golf gave Dominick a chance to compete in the tournament by paying all the expenses. And though Dominick did not win, he and his family were grateful for the chance to compete.
“I felt I was pretty lucky to be able to go,” Dominick said.