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by Deborah Buchanan
The term “the comeback kid” seems appropriate even for 25-year-old Kaylin Yost.
She is a golf phenom who has defied the odds since birth.
Yost was born with two dislocated hips and her doctors suggested she would never walk.
She proved them wrong.
After two operations and 16 months in a full-body cast, Yost has been walking, golfing and winning.
At the age of 2 she was diagnosed with a 90 percent hearing loss.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
She started playing golf when she was 9 years old. She attended Campbell University in North Carolina on a golf scholarship, where she was named a two-time Big South Conference player of the year.
In 2014, she joined the Symetra Tour (formerly known as the LPGA Futures Tour). She left the tour after one and half years to pursue other interests. However, a year later, she returned to the tour.
Most recently, Yost became the first gold medalist in golf at the Deaflympics. She is also the first-ever female American golfer to play in the Deaflympics.
The Deaflympics — also known as World Games for the Deaf and International Games for the Deaf — is an International Olympic Committee-sanctioned competition for hearing-impaired athletes. The event was held July 18-30 in Samsun, Turkey, at the Samsun M.M. Golf Club.
Yost said she must have repeated this Bible verse hundreds of times as she played the course on the final day: “But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength …”
She was 3 down after six and felt defeated. Once again, she came from behind, stood her course, focused and captured the gold for USA by sinking an 8-footer in the 19th round.
Yost’s family remained stateside while she was in Turkey. She kept them up to date via texts such as this one: “I WON GOLD GUYS!!!!! So many EMOTIONS!!!!!! I was down 3 after 6. Won 7, 8, 9 to go even. I was down 1 after hole 16. We both birdie 17. I won 18. THEN I MADE A 8-FOOTER ON THE 19 HOLE TO WIN GOLD!!!!!!!!!”
She is amazed by the opportunity.
“Winning the gold medal was an amazing experience,” Yost said. “Turkey is a beautiful country and I met some amazing people from all over the world. It was a great trip and I was honored to represent our great country.”
Although Yost is a Floridian — she was born and raised there, along with her older brother, Alex, and younger sister, Logan — her roots run deep in Olney, and they run deep in the golf community, too.
The first initials of her full name, Kaylin Ashley Yost, spell out her maternal grandfather’s name, Kay. Kay Kendall was a long-time member of Manor Country Club and sold EZGO golf carts for the mid-Atlantic region.
Her great-grandfather, Claggett Stevens, was a golf pro at Manor Country Club.
Her mother, Sharon Kendall, is a 1975 graduate of Sherwood High School and she has two uncles, one a graduate of Sherwood and the other a graduate of Our Lady of Good Counsel.
“I am very proud of Kaylin because she is doing what she loves and chasing her dreams,” Sharon Kendall said.
Sharon Kendall is proud of the deep fan base in the Olney community.
“I love my Olney friends that follow Kaylin and her golf,” she said. “They always text me: Olney Proud.”
Yost was scheduled to participate in the Stage 1 Qualifying Tournament for the LPGA, going on Aug. 21-27 at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The tournament is a stepping stone to advance to the LPGA.
Deborah Buchanan is an advertising account executive for The Greater Olney News whose family has lived in the community for generations.
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