Teen golfs to honor her fallen hero father

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Kayleigh Reinke golfs in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

A 15-year-old girl has struggled for years with the tragic death of her father who served in the Army.

Sgt. Gavin Reinke was with 5th Engineer Battalion out of Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, when he deployed to Iraq for the second time. A roadside bomb explosion killed Reinke in 2006.

His daughter, whom he nicknamed "Kayleigh Bug," was only 3.

"I don't remember a lot. But my mom has told me a lot," Kayleigh told Fox News from a tournament in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. "He was really tall and really goofy. And really fun to be around."

After developing a fear of being alone, she discovered the game of golf to help her cope.

"I felt like I was connected to him in another way," Kayleigh said. "And it's brought me so far."

Every time Kayleigh steps out on the green, she is reminded of the manicured lawns of Arlington Cemetery, where her father now rests, and she feels closer to him.

"I have his bible that he had while he was over there that we were given back that had pictures of me and my mom in it," Kayleigh said. "I keep that in my golf bag."

Buggy has competed in 45 matches over the last three years with the help of Angels of America's Fallen, an organization that helps children of service members who died during combat or suicide due to post-traumatic stress disorder.

"I see this light in her that for so long was gone after she lost her dad and now it's there," said Carole Reinke, Kayleigh's mom, who has been there every step of the way. "We've learned how to be a unit, the two of us. And to learn that everything we do even though we lost him, we still have a lot to be thankful for."

Kayleigh is competing in tournaments across South Carolina until school starts in August. If she wins, Kayleigh wants to honor her father by taking her trophy to his gravesite in Virginia.