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Sunday At Augusta: Kids Are On Stage

AUGUSTA, GEORGIA | It was gray and chilly Sunday at Augusta National with a spitting rain coming and going, hardly the classic image of an April afternoon at Masters time.
But there was no shortage of sunshine.
It was there in the faces of 9-year-old Kelly Xu and 11-year-old Leo Cheng and the other 86 kids who spent Sunday morning participating in the inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National. A day before the world arrives and a week before another champion is crowned, the world’s most famous – and perhaps most private – golf club belonged to the kids.
“To me, this is the most special course in the world,” Xu said, sitting at the same interview table in the media center where the next Masters champion will sit in a week.
As champion of the girls 7-9 age group (there were four age groups for boys and girls who emerged from a
field of more than 17,000 nationwide participants), Xu earned the distinction of becoming the first female champion at Augusta National.
Asked if she was aware of that, Xu paused for a moment. “Yeah,” she said, her smile as wide as the one on the face of Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne, who was sitting in the first row in the media center, listening to the eight winners talk about their experiences.


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