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80 Drive, Chip and Putt finalists invited to Augusta National

Azaleas in bloom at Amen Corner at the Augusta National Golf Club.
Azaleas in bloom at Amen Corner at the Augusta National Golf Club.(WFXG)
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 3:19 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Eighty junior golfers representing 30 U.S. states have earned an invitation to compete in the eighth annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, to be played at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament.

Conducted in partnership with the USGA, Masters Tournament and PGA of America, Drive, Chip and Putt is a free youth golf development program that welcomes boys and girls, ages 7-15, to play the game and master the three most important skills for success – accuracy in driving, chipping and putting.

The program is available in all 50 states and set on courses in both small and large communities.

Results of the 10 regional qualifiers – the third and final stage leading to the 2022 National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club – yielded six returning competitors:

  • Lisa Copeland (2017 National Finalist), of Naperville, Ill.
  • Brayden Dock (2021 National Finalist), of Queensbury, N.Y.
  • Michael Jorski (2018 National Finalist), of Clarendon Hills, Ill.
  • Athena Singh (2021 National Finalist), of Morehead, Ky.
  • Asterisk Talley (2018 National Finalist), of Chowchilla, Calif.
  • Champa Visetsin (2021 National Finalist), of Sudbury, Mass.

Local qualifying for the eighth season of Drive, Chip and Putt began in May and was held at hundreds of sites across the country this summer. The top three scorers per venue, in each of the four age categories in separate boys and girls divisions, advanced to subregional qualifiers in July and August. The top two juniors in each age/gender division then competed at the regional level in September and October. Regional qualifying was held at 10 courses around the country, including several U.S. Open and PGA Championship venues.

The top finishers from each regional site’s age/gender divisions – a total of 80 finalists – earned a place in the National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club, which will be broadcast live on Golf Channel. All local, subregional and regional qualifiers were conducted by the 41 Sections of the PGA of America, with PGA Professionals providing support at each facility hosting a qualifier.

Notes from regional qualifying:

  • At the end of the regional qualifier at Medinah Country Club – the site of four USGA championships, including three U.S. Opens, and host of two PGA Championships and the 2012 Ryder Cup – Cody Guetzke of Hartland, Wis., was tied for first place. Following a playoff, he edged ahead of the competition to win the Boys 14-15 age division. “The playoff was very nerve-wracking,” Guetzke said. “But it was a fun experience.” In the Girls 12-13 division, Lisa Copeland of Naperville, Ill., won by a 21- point total margin, securing her second trip to Augusta National, where she previously competed in the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.
  • Eight-year-old Lincoln Trasamar of Sioux Falls, S.D., knew he wanted to compete in Drive, Chip and Putt when “I watched it on TV and thought, ‘I want to do it.’” At Colorado Golf Club – site of the 2019 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship and 2010 Senior PGA Championship – he prevailed in a playoff to become a National Finalist for the first time. In the Boys 10-11 division, Fort Collins, Colo.’s Judd Nikkel posted a total of 142, his highest-ever score in two years of competing in Drive, Chip and Putt. “I’m definitely proud of myself for making it this far, then going to Augusta,” Nikkel said. “I put in the work for it, so I feel really good.”
  • After celebrating her eighth birthday the day before, Katelyn Burks of Paoli, Pennsylvania, took first place at Oak Hill Country Club – site of six USGA championships, including three U.S. Opens; host of three PGA Championships, the 1995 Ryder Cup and two KitchenAid Senior PGA Championships; and future host of the 2023 PGA Championship – with 90 total points. She follows in the footsteps of her older sister, Jillian, who competed at Augusta National for the 2021 National Finals. For Anna Swan of North East, Pennsylvania, seeing her older siblings, Isaiah and Lydia, play in the 2015 National Finals inspired her to do the same. With 146 points and first place in the Girls 14-15 division, she secured her own spot at Augusta National this April.
  • Mary Miller of Savannah, first started competing in Drive, Chip and Putt when she was 7 years old. At Quail Hollow Club – site of the 2017 PGA Championship and future host of the 2025 PGA Championship – she won the driving and putting disciplines to take first place in the Girls 14-15 age division, earning her first-ever spot in the National Finals. “Golf’s an amazing sport. You can play it at any age,” Miller said. “It’s shown me that I can do anything if I put my mind to it. On the golf course, you learn to be patient, stay calm and persevere.” In the Boys 12-13 division, Hamilton Coleman from Evans, Georgia, nearby Augusta National, won his age division with 143 total points. Reflecting on playing at the iconic course so close to home, Coleman said, “It’ll be really cool because we drive by Augusta [National] all the time, and I think about everybody who’s played there.” He added, “Now I’ll be able to go and experience it. That’ll be amazing.”
  • The regional qualifier at TPC River Highlands – site of the Travelers Championship – saw two previous National Finalists, Brayden Dock of Queensbury, N.Y. and Champa Visetsin of Sudbury, Mass., punch their tickets to compete at Augusta National for the second year in a row. Both look forward to returning and said they hope to perform even better at the 2022 National Finals. It was also a special day for the LaTorre family of Nassau, N. Y. Brothers Mason and Tanner took first place in the Boys 7-9 and Boys 12-13 divisions, respectively. “It’s pretty cool we’re both going to Augusta National,” Tanner said. “And we’ll be walking on the greens there. That’s so special, like sacred ground.”
  • Carter Macy of Meridian, Idaho, had an eighth birthday he’ll never forget. At Pebble Beach Golf Links – site of 13 USGA championships, including six U.S. Opens; the future site of the 2023 U.S. Women’s Open and 2027 U.S. Open; and host of the 1977 PGA Championship – he earned his invitation to the National Finals after edging out the second-place finisher by one point overall. Kaylie Bae of Happy Valley, Oregon, also became a National Finalist for the first time. Although she picked up the game just 18 months ago, she won the Girls 7-9 division by a 20-point margin and aspires to play golf professionally one day.
  • At TPC Scottsdale – site of the Waste Management Phoenix Open – it was the putting discipline that secured victory for each girl National Finalist, as Jessica Hoerr, Amber Lee, Ella Igtanloc and Ella Walsh all placed first in putting and overall in their respective age divisions. Amber Lee of Alta Loma, California, shared it is her favorite discipline. She said she is “very excited to be going to Augusta” and can’t wait to test her putting skills on the “really fast greens.” Ella Walsh added that what she loves about the game is “the fact that there are so many shots in golf – so many shots you can play, so many different scenarios.”
  • Carson Treadwell of Frisco, Texas, started playing golf with his dad at just 8 months old. Now 13, he’s on his way to Augusta National, having won the Boys 12-13 age division by one total point at The Alotian Club – site of the 2013 Western Amateur Championship and 2019 Arnold Palmer Cup. Like Treadwell, practice paid off for Delaney Anderson of Lewisville, Texas, who placed first in the Girls 12-13 division with 132 total points. Anderson, who has been working hard on her swing after school and on weekends, “cannot wait to get to Augusta National.”
  • After winning the Girls 10-11 age division at The Bear’s Club – the club founded by Jack and Barbara Nicklaus – Emma Kate Rice of Mountain Brook, Ala. said, “I’m really excited to go to Augusta. I can’t wait to go and have fun.” She added, “It just shows you can really do anything if you set your mind to it.” In the Girls 14-15 age division, Port St. Lucie, Fla.’s Angela Nip took first place overall with 133 total points. She looks forward to Augusta National next April where her sister Gloria, a 2015 and 2018 National Finalist, will be on the bag for her. Trace Carter of Blackshear, Ga. scored 60 points in the putting discipline, rallying to win the Boys 14-15 division. Looking ahead to Augusta National, he said, “I’m really excited. It’s a once-in-alifetime thing.”
  • At Oakland Hills Country Club – site of 11 USGA championships, including six U.S. Opens, and host of three PGA Championships and the 2004 Ryder Cup – Athena Singh of Morehead, Ky. posted 134 total points to become a National Finalist for the second consecutive year. She took tenth place at the 2021 National Finals and aims to place even higher on the leaderboard in 2022. For Matthew White of Lexington, Ky., “Just being out there having fun is why I like golf.” White, who tallied 116 total points to win the Boys 7-9 age division by a 19-point margin, added, “The winning is fun, too.”

All scoring at the local, subregional and regional qualifiers is based on a 25-point-per-shot basis, with each participant taking three shots per skill. Each participant accumulated points per shot in all three skills (maximum of 75 points per skill = 25 points per shot x 3). The overall winner in each age category was determined by the participant with the most points accumulated across all three skills (maximum of 225 points = 75 points per skill x 3).

For each skill, the point system is based in incremental distance measurements, rewarding accuracy and distance in the drive skill, and proximity for chipping and putting skills.

At the National Finals, one champion will be named from each age/gender division. Each finalist will be scored based on a 30-point system, offering the player with the best drive 10 points, the player with the closest cumulative chips 10 points and the player with the nearest cumulative putts 10 points, in each separate skill. The highest total composite score will determine the winner.

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