Oct 16, 2017: Eighty junior golfers representing 30 U.S. states and one Canadian province have earned an invitation to Augusta National Golf Club to compete in the fifth annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, to be conducted on Sunday, April 1, 2018, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament.
Developed in partnership between the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America and the USGA, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development initiative open to girls and boys ages 7-15. Participants compete in separate divisions in four age categories – focused on the three fundamental skills employed in golf, tapping the creative and competitive spirit of young golfers.
Results of the 10 regional qualifiers – the third and final stage leading to the 2018 National Finals – yielded twelve returning competitors, including impressive three-time finalists Megha Ganne, Vanessa Borovilos and Treed Huang. Returning finalists are:
- Isabella McCauley (2017 National Finalist), of Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
- Megha Ganne (2017 and 2015 National Finalist), of Holmdel, N.J.
- Treed Huang (2014 Boys 7-9 Champion and 2017 National Finalist), of Katy, Texas
- Jackie Feldman (2017 National Finalist), of Austin, Texas
- Sam Udovich (2016 National Finalist), of Inver Grove Heights, Minn.
- Vanessa Borovilos (2016 and 2015 National Finalist), of Toronto
- Jay Nimmo (2016 National Finalist), of Benton, Ky.
- Avery Zweig (2016 National Finalist), of McKinney, Texas
- Pj Maybank (2015 National Finalist), of Cheboygan, Mich.
- Gloria Nip (2015 National Finalist), of Port St. Lucie, Fla.
- Katherine Schuster (2015 National Finalist), Kill Devil Hills, N.C.
- Kasey Maralack (2014 National Finalist), of Snoqualmie, Wash.
Local qualifying for the fifth season began in May, June and July, held at more than 260 sites throughout the United States. The top-three scorers per venue, in each of the four age categories in separate boys and girls divisions, advanced to 50 subregional qualifiers in July and August. Two juniors in each age and gender division then competed at the regional level in September and October, held at some of the top courses in the country, including several U.S. Open and PGA Championship venues.
The top finisher from each regional site’s age/gender divisions – a total of 80 finalists – earned a place in the National Finals, which will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel. All local, sub regional 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.
All championship scoring at the local, sub regional and regional qualifiers is based on a 25-point-pershot 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 champion in each age category was determined by the participant with the most points accumulated between 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. Difficulty increases with age.
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 longest 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.
For more information about the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, please visit www.DriveChipandPutt.com.