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The Next Generation is in the spotlight today at Augusta National

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — As excitement builds for Masters Week, youngsters took center stage Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club as regional Drive, Chip and Putt champions vie for a national title.

Eighty children from across the country are competing in four age groups. They will each get two drives, two chips and two putts.

Competition started Sunday at 8 a.m. Competition will continue throughout the day as different age groups go through the rounds.

The competition brings the sport to a new generation of players, including Drive Chip and Putt veterans who competed in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur this weekend, which was won by 16-year-old Californian Anna Davis.

Three local kids are competing in this year’s National Dive Chip and Putt Finals:

HAMILTON COLEMAN

The Evans Middle School eighth grader is competing in the 12-13 boys group.

He says he started playing with the plastic children’s clubs as soon as he could walk. That’s what sparked his interest in the sport, he says.

He switched to a real set of clubs when he was 4 years old.

Its lowest scores so far are 31 at nine holes and 65 at 18 holes.

Her favorite golfer is Rickie Fowler and her favorite female golfers are The Korda sisters.

One of his favorite things about golf is that there is a new challenge every day. Each shot is different from the next in some way, he says. Moreover, he enjoys the process of growing as a player, improving over time.

He practices the most in chipping, especially through competitions with others.

Describing himself as calm and observant, he says the mental part of golf is as important, perhaps more important, than the physical part. He says no matter how talented a player is, he can’t play good golf if his mental game is bad.

LYLA HAWKER

The Fort Gordon homeschooled fourth-grade student competes in the 7-9 girls group.

She started playing golf at the age of 8 and her lowest score is 40 on nine holes.

She became interested in the sport by going to the golf course with her father and playing TopGolf, she says. She normally plays golf with her father, brother and grandfather.

The best part of golf is spending time with family and friends, she says.

She practices putting the most and finds hitting over water to be the hardest thing in the sport.

His favorite golf course is Augusta National. Her favorite male golfer is Bryson DeChambeau and her favorite female golfer is Nelly Korda – but she says Phil Mickelson is the coolest golfer.

Besides golf, she enjoys musicals, crafts, reading and rollerblading.

ZANE MADISON

The home-schooled third-grader from Evans competes in the boys’ 7-9 group.

He started playing golf at the age of 4 and was competing at the age of 5. He got interested in this sport through his father and brothers, who love this game.

His lowest score is 33 over nine holes.

He normally plays golf with his brother Kipp and his friends Tyler, Grayson, Colton and Coley.

His favorite part of golf is hitting his driver long distance and playing with friends, he says. But the hardest part is controlling your emotions and staying focused for two hours.

Augusta National is his favorite golf course in the world, and he says he even went to the Masters once, with his two brothers.

Phil Mickelson is his favorite golfer and his favorite female golfer is Lexi Thompson.

Besides golf, he enjoys building things with his hands, mountain biking, and playing basketball in the winter when he takes a break from golf.

About the contest

The US Golf Association, the Masters Tournament and the Professional Golfers’ Association of America created Drive, Chip and Putt to introduce more young people to golf in a fun and welcoming environment.

It is open to all boys or girls aged 7 to 15. Focused on learning and mastering the three basic skills of golf, the free program is accessible in all 50 states.

For the next Drive, Chip and Putt competition, local qualifiers will take place in May at more than 350 venues nationwide, the most in the event’s eight-year history, and will continue throughout the season. ‘summer. The top performers at local level will go through the sub-regional and regional qualifiers in July/August and September/October, respectively.

From these qualifications, 80 finalists – 40 boys and 40 girls – will earn an invitation to participate in the national final at Augusta National on April 2, the day before the 2023 Masters Tournament.

Registration for the Drive, Chip and Putt Qualifiers 2022-2023 is open on DriveChipandPutt.com.

PHOTO GALLERY | A 16-YEAR-OLD’S JOURNEY TO THE WOMEN’S AMATEUR TITLE:

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