Hudsonville teen born with one hand joins LPGA favorites on the green

Kent County

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Sophia Howard was the shortest girl on the green Tuesday, but she has a personality larger than the golf course.

The 14-year-old from Hudsonville admired and supported her idols, professional golfers Nelly and Jessica Korda, as they practiced at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont in preparation for the Meijer LPGA Classic.

“I was like, ‘Holy cow, these girls are good,'” Sophia said.

Sophia’s not bad herself. She’s been golfing for almost four years.

Her style is different than most.

“Yeah, I may look different, but I think I’m just another average person,” she said. “I go out and do the game of golf, how everybody else (does), and I don’t let that stop me.”

Sophia was born without a right hand. While some may see it as a challenge, the pros see it as an opportunity to defy the odds.

Sophia Howard (center) with LPGA golfers Jessica (left) and Nelly (right) Korda at Blythefield Country Club on June 15, 2021.

“I’m really impressed with her swing,” Jessica Korda said. “It just shows that if you put your mind to whatever you want, you can do just about anything.”

Sophia met the Korda sisters through Dream On 3, a nonprofit that connects young people with medical challenges to their favorite athlete, sporting event or sports team.

It’s a dream come true for Sophia’s mom.

“They were talking about the shows they watch, talking like they were old friends, talking about TikToks, Netflix and fun movies and shows that they watch,” Karen Howard said.

Sophia wasn’t just rubbing elbows with the pros. She was also learning from them with hopes of becoming a pro herself.

“These girls are like who I follow and who I would really like to be one day,” Sophia said.

She will be a freshman in high school next school year, where she said she’ll continue her love for golf.

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