On a sunny day in Georgia, the sixth annual Drive, Chip & Putt National Final took place at Augusta National, just one day before Masters week is set to begin.
The Drive, Chip & Putt Championship is a joint initiative between the Masters Tournament, the USGA and the PGA of America in which boys and girls in four age divisions compete in a series of golf skills challenges.
Defending Masters champion Sergio Garcia, his fellow PGA Tour pros Jon Rahm and Martin Kaymer, and legends Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player were among those on hand to encourage these young players during the competition.
In a Golf Channel interview, Kaymer said he was inspired by the youngsters’ enthusiasm for the game and hopes to bring that to Augusta National this week for the year’s first major.
As for the competition, it was friendly, but fierce.
The longest drive of the day came from Josh Lavley of Kewadin, Mich., in the Boys 14-15 Division as he cranked his first drive 266.2 yards to win the driving portion of the competition. He finished second overall in the division.
And the third time was a charm for Vanessa Borovilos, a Toronto native. She won the Girls 10-11 division, prevailing by an inch in the chipping portion. And she was celebrating with … cupcakes.
Boys 7-9: Taighan Chea, Bothell, Wash.
Boys 10-11: Tip Price, Greenville, S.C.
Boys 12-13: PJ Maybank III, Cheboygan, Mich.
Boys 14-15: Brendan Valdes, Orlando, Fla.
Girls 7-9: Ella June Hannant, Pikeville, N.C.
Girls 10-11: Vanessa Borovilos, Toronto, Ontario
Girls 12-13: Sara Im, Duluth, Ga.
Girls 14-15: Katherine Schuster, Kill Devil Hills, N.C.