Drive, Chip, and Putt Finalists Confirmed

Drive, Chip and Putt Championship logo flag (Courtesy: PGA.com)
Drive, Chip and Putt Championship logo flag (Courtesy: PGA.com)

AUGUSTA, Ga. – 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 fourth annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, to be played on Sunday, April 2, 2017, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament.
A joint initiative by the Masters Tournament, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free, nationwide youth golf development initiative open to girls and boys ages 7-15 – competing in separate divisions in four age categories – focusing on the three fundamental skills employed in golf and tapping the creative and competitive spirit of young golfers.
Results of the 10 regional qualifiers – the third and final stage of qualifying conducted at many USGA and PGA championship sites throughout the country – yielded five returning competitors from previous National Finals:
Participated in the 2016 National Finals:
 Alexa Pano (2016 Girls 10-11 Champion), of Lake Worth, Fla., won the Girls 12-13 age group at The Country Club
 Malia Schroeder, of Arlington, Wash., won the Girls 12-13 age group at The Olympic Club
Participated in the 2015 National Finals:
 Megha Ganne, of Holmdel, N.J., won the Girls 12-13 age group at Baltusrol Golf Club
Participated in the 2014 National Finals:
 Treed Huang (2014 Boys 7-9 Champion), of Katy, Texas, won the Boys 12-13 age group at Southern Hills
 Samuel Kodak, of Naples, Fla., won the Boys 12-13 age group at TPC Sawgrass
 Alexa Pano
The road to Augusta began with local qualifying in May, June, and July, held at more than 250 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.
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 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:
 Claire Bradford had already planned to attend the 2017 Masters with her father, Tom, and 7-year-old brother Collin before winning the Girls 7-9 division at Pinehurst. Bradford’s great grandfather, Ralph Herndon, helped operate the Masters scoreboard near the 15th green for a number of years. After finalist Karson Adkins’ sister Kameron, 10, had heart surgery in April, Adkins’ ability to play this summer was limited — and she says that did not bother her one bit. “I just kept practicing and I was able to grow closer to my sister. So it was a win-win.”  Trips down Magnolia Lane are becoming old hat for Malia Schroeder, the winner of last year’s Girls 12-13 division title at The Olympic Club. Schroeder repeated the feat, earning her second consecutive trip to Augusta National, where she finished fifth in the National Finals in 2016. Australian-born finalist Marcus Page was born on Masters Sunday, 2004, the day Phil Mickelson won his first green jacket. Like Mickelson, Page plays left-handed. Also like Phil, he’ll be headed to Augusta, having captured the Boys 12-13 division title.
 Megha Ganne qualified along with her sister, Sirina (Girls 7-9 division), making them the only pair of siblings to make it from the Baltusrol Golf Club regional. This is also Megha’s second trip to the National Finals. Austin Liao missed qualifying for Augusta National last year by two points, which motivated him all year to win the Boys 12-13 division. “It means everything. Last year, being so close, to make it this year, it’s just so great. I worked really hard to do it.”
 Jack Johnson will make his first trip to Augusta National after winning the Boys 14-15 division at Hazeltine National Golf Club, where he just wrapped up his first season as a caddie. After being eliminated in a tie breaker at the regional qualifier last year, Isabella Mccauley won the Girls 12-13 division by four points. “Last year it was hard because I thought I won, but it made me want to practice harder. I practiced so much coming to this event and it paid off.”
 Momo Kikuchi won the Girls 14-15 division at Medinah Country Club with 129 points, the most of any female finalist. She earned 55 points on the putting portion alone. Andrew Scholz was the last player to tee off at the regional qualifier, and ended the day on a high note, holing two of his first three putts (from 6 and 15 feet) to earn his spot in the National Finals. Scholz, who is 15, plays golf cross-handed (left hand low) with every club in his bag.
 After seeing a few friends participate in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, Julia Rabadam wanted to join in the fun. After making it to the subregional round last year, this year Rabadam not only won the Girls 12-13 division at Oakmont Country Club, but also
medaled in each event. Boys 14-15 finalist Clay Merchant has a very good mentor in the game of golf, who he credited with much of his success on the course Sunday. “My dad is a PGA pro and he’s really helped me,” the 15-year-old said. “He’s never pushed me, never even to go hit balls. He’s always left it up to me.”
 Maye Huang became half of a rare brother-sister duo to qualify in the same year by winning the Girls 7-9 division at Southern Hills Country Club. Her brother, Treed Huang, won the Boys 12-13 division and will be making his second trip to Augusta National. After winning the Boys 7-9 Division at the National Finals in 2014, Huang said he was eager to get back and try to win a second DCP championship at Augusta National. “Augusta was awesome,” he said. “The fairways were like mats and the greens didn’t have one single flaw. When my sister won, that definitely gave me extra motivation. If we’re going back, I wanted to be competing.”
 Kayla Bryant played in her local qualifier last year but did not advance, and used the lessons she learned to improve and win all three categories in the Girls 7-9 division at TPC Sawgrass. She will be joined at the National Finals by her neighbor and friend Chloe Kovelesky, winner of the Girls 10-11 division. Samuel Kodak earned his second trip to Augusta National with his Boys 12-13 division win. He also advanced to the National Finals in 2014, the first year of the competition.
 Kristina Xu has competed in Drive, Chip and Putt since 2014, but never advanced past regional qualifying. That all changed this year at Riviera Country Club, when she won all three disciplines in the Girls 7-9 division and beat her closest competitor by 47 points. Her older sister, Kelly, was the first female champion crowned at the National Finals in 2014. Two other siblings of former National Finalists also advanced at Riviera, including Nalani Sam (Girls 12-13), sister of 2016 Girls 12-13 Champion Kayla Sam, and Evan Chien (Boys 12-13), whose sister Leigh Chien competed in the 2016 National Finals. Mason Quagliata won the Boys 14-15 division with a total of 143 points, four points ahead of the closest competitor. “I went last year [to Augusta] for a practice round. It’s going to be a lot cooler standing on the first tee and putting on the 18th green.”
 Alexa Pano will compete at Augusta National for the third time this year, which puts her at more trips than any other finalist. “In the first year, there were only two stages,” said Pano, who won the Girls 12-13 division at The Country Club. “Now there are three stages and a lot more players all over the country, so to make it back is just incredible.” Illness kept Brian Glennon from competing in last year’s subregional round, and he made up for it this year with a Boys 14-15 division victory. “I never thought I could make it this far, but I guess I’m here and I won.”
All championship 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 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 http://www.DriveChipandPutt.com.
###
REGIONAL QUALIFYING RESULTS
Qualifying sites:
Date Host Site City, State
September 4 Pinehurst Pinehurst, N.C.
September 10 TPC Sawgrass Ponte Vedra, Fla.
September 10 Olympic Club San Francisco, Calif.
September 10 Hazeltine National Golf Club Chaska, Minn.
September 10 Southern Hills Country Club Tulsa, Okla.
September 11 Oakmont Country Club Oakmont, Pa.
September 17 Medinah Country Club Medinah, Ill.
September 24 Riviera Country Club Pacific Palisades, Calif.
September 24 Baltusrol Golf Club Springfield, N.J.
September 25 The Country Club Brookline, Mass.
Qualifying results:
Girls 7-9
Name
Points
City
State/Province
Regional
Kristina Xu
139
Claremont
California
Riviera Country Club
Kayla Bryant
135
Boca Raton
Florida
TPC Sawgrass
Carlee Meilleur
105
Lansdowne
Ontario
The Country Club
Mia Herendeen
100
Bellevue
Washington
Olympic Club
Emree Cameron
93
Nevada
Missouri
Hazeltine Country Club
Gianna Clemente
88
Warren
Ohio
Oakmont Country Club
Claire Bradford
85
Watkinsville
Georgia
Pinehurst
Sirina Ganne
86
Holmdel
New Jersey
Baltusrol Golf Club
Lisa Copeland
84
Naperville
Illinois
Medinah Country Club
Maye Huang
74
Katy
Texas
Southern Hills Country Club
Girls 10-11
Name
Points
City
State/Province
Regional
Chloe Kovelesky
137
Boca Raton
Florida
TPC Sawgrass
Riley Yang
121
San Jose
California
Olympic Club
Sarah Lydic
115
Ocean View
Delaware
Oakmont Country Club
Mia Wong
113
Markham
Ontario
Baltusrol Golf Club
Kennedy Swedick
109
Altamont
New York
The Country Club
Lucy Yuan
109
San Diego
California
Riviera Country Club
Lyla Louderbaugh
104
Buffalo
Missouri
Hazeltine Country Club
Chelsea She
95
Buffalo Grove
Illinois
Medinah Country Club
Catherine Qiu
95
Ashburn
Virginia
Pinehurst
Kate Bennett
83
Fort Worth
Texas
Southern Hills Country Club
Girls 12-13
Name
Points
City
State/Province
Regional
Nalani Sam
143
Anaheim Hills
California
Riviera Country Club
Norah Catlin
141
Zephyrhills
Florida
TPC Sawgrass
Megha Ganne
136
Holmdel
New Jersey
Baltusrol Golf Club
Malia Schroeder
133
Arlington
Washington
Olympic Club
Madilyn Newman
130
Knoxville
Tennessee
Pinehurst
Julia Rabadam
129
Upper Arlington
Ohio
Oakmont Country Club
Isabella Mccauley
127
Inver Grove Heights
Minnesota
Hazeltine Country Club
Chloe Johnson
125
Evansville
Indiana
Medinah Country Club
Isabella Saenz
118
Porter
Texas
Southern Hills Country Club
Alexa Pano
104
Lake Worth
Florida
The Country Club
Girls 14-15
Name
Points
City
State/Province
Regional
Megan Ahmadi
161
Westlake Village
California
Riviera Country Club
Mimi Xiaoyi Chen
152
Longwood
Florida
TPC Sawgrass
Baylee Hammericksen
144
Medford
Oregon
Olympic Club
Jacqueline Feldman
144
Austin
Texas
Southern Hills Country Club
Gabrielle Shieh
131
Carlisle
Massachusetts
The Country Club
Savannah Grewal
131
Mississauga
Ontario
Baltusrol Golf Club
Karson Adkins
130
Savannah
Tennessee
Pinehurst
Momo Kikuchi
129
Maryland Heights
Missouri
Medinah Country Club
Emily St Aubin
126
Ashley
North Dakota
Hazeltine Country Club
Leila Raines
113
Galena
Ohio
Oakmont Country Club
Boys 7-9
Name
Points
City
State/Province
Regional
Max Vandermolen
130
Richland
Michigan
Medinah Country Club
Tyler Mawhinney
129
Fleming Island
Florida
TPC Sawgrass
Jeff Seong
122
Tacoma
Washington
Olympic Club
Udyat Sarangdevot
119
Omaha
Nebraska
Hazeltine Country Club
Carter Gaede
112
Manhattan Beach
California
Riviera Country Club
Peter Sposato
111
Bishop
Georgia
Pinehurst
Michael Bruce
99
Fort Fairfield
Maine
The Country Club
Trevor Sikorski
96
West Grove
Pennsylvania
Baltusrol Golf Club
Jacob Castro
91
Denton
Texas
Southern Hills Country Club
Ethan Ritter
85
New Albany
Ohio
Oakmont Country Club
Boys 10-11
Name
Points
City
State/Province
Regional
Howard Shu
136
Saratoga
California
Olympic Club
Eric Yun
128
Menlo Park
California
The Country Club
Braden Miller
125
Naples
Florida
TPC Sawgrass
Matt Moloney
122
Vienna
Virginia
Baltusrol Golf Club
Hayden Adams
121
Lexington
Kentucky
Oakmont Country Club
Quinn Thomas
120
Hannibal
Missouri
Medinah Country Club
Carter Kontur
119
Lawrenceville
Georgia
Pinehurst
Liam Hartling
117
Redlands
California
Riviera Country Club
William Hennessee
101
Tulsa
Oklahoma
Southern Hills Country Club
Mateo Rascon
98
Burlington
Iowa
Hazeltine Country Club
Boys 12-13
Name
Points
City
State/Province
Regional
Clinton Daly
164
Charlotte
North Carolina
Pinehurst
Marcus Page
153
Los Gatos
California
Olympic Club
Evan Chien
147
Irvine
California
Riviera Country Club
Samuel Kodak
144
Naples
Florida
TPC Sawgrass
Luke Coyle
143
Campbellsville
Kentucky
Oakmont Country Club
Treed Huang
135
Katy
Texas
Southern Hills Country Club
Zachary Colon
125
Bolton
Massachusetts
The Country Club
Connor McNeely
115
Noblesville
Indiana
Medinah Country Club
Kaeden Nomm
122
Minocqua
Wisconsin
Hazeltine Country Club
Austin Liao
102
Warren
New Jersey
Baltusrol Golf Club
Boys 14-15
Name
Points
City
State/Province
Regional
Aidan Kramer
154
Oviedo
Florida
TPC Sawgrass
Jack McMullin
154
Seattle
Washington
Olympic Club
Ian Walters
152
Glen Allen
Virginia
Baltusrol Golf Club
Cavan Jones
149
Roswell
New Mexico
Southern Hills Country Club
Clay Merchant
147
Noblesville
Indiana
Oakmont Country Club
Mason Quagliata
143
Scottsdale
Arizona
Riviera Country Club
Andrew Scholz
140
Mission
Kansas
Medinah Country Club
Jack Johnson
126
Chaska
Minnesota
Hazeltine Country Club
Jaron Leasure
122
Virginia Beach
Virginia
Pinehurst
Brian Glennon
118
Hingham
Massachusetts
The Country Club
About the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship
A joint initiative founded in 2013 by the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free nationwide junior golf development competition aimed at growing the game by focusing on the three fundamental skills employed in golf. By tapping the creative and competitive spirit of girls and boys ages 7-15, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship provides aspiring junior golfers an opportunity to play with their peers in qualifiers around the country. Participants who advance through local, sub-regional and regional qualifying in each age/gender category earn a place in the National Finals, which is conducted at Augusta National Golf Club the Sunday before the Masters Tournament and is broadcast live by Golf Channel. For more information about the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, please visit: http://www.DriveChipandPutt.com.
About the Masters Tournament
The Masters Tournament Foundation, inspired by the enduring philosophies of Masters Tournament founders Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts, is committed to promoting golf’s domestic and international development through financial investment and active participation in initiatives aimed at preserving the traditions of the game and sharing its many virtues.
The Masters Tournament – since its very beginning – strives to provide added exposure to the game of golf and inspire interest in the sport worldwide. For more information about the Masters, visit http://www.masters.com.
About the United States Golf Association
The USGA conducts the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open, as well as 10 national amateur championships, two state team championships and international matches, attracting players and fans from more than 160 countries. Together with The R&A, the USGA governs the game worldwide, jointly administering the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, equipment standards and World Amateur Golf Rankings. The USGA’s reach is global with a working jurisdiction in the United States, its territories and Mexico, serving more than 25 million golfers and actively engaging 150 golf associations.
The USGA is one of the world’s foremost authorities on research, development and support of sustainable golf course management practices. It serves as a primary steward for the game’s history and invests in the development of the game through the delivery of its services and its ongoing “For the Good of the Game” grants program. Additionally, the USGA’s Course Rating and Handicap systems are used on six continents in more than 50 countries. For more information about the USGA, visit http://www.usga.org.
About the PGA of America
Since its founding in 1916, the PGA of America has maintained a twofold mission: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the PGA enables its professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion dollar golf industry. By creating and delivering world-class championships and innovative programs, the PGA of America elevates the public’s interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. As the PGA nears its centennial, the PGA brand represents the very best in golf. For more information about the PGA of America, visit http://www.pgamediacenter.com.
Media Contacts
Masters Tournament
Steve Ethun, Director of Communications
(706) 667-6705; spethun@augustanational.com
United States Golf Association (USGA)
Janeen Driscoll, Director, Public Relations
(908) 326-1978; jdriscoll@usga.org
PGA of America
Jamie Carbone, Director, Public Relations
(561) 624-8446; jcarbone@pgahq.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s