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Kyle's going to Augusta!!!!


June 8, 2013 - Paul and Kyle are all smiles when Kyle won the Local Qualifier for the Drive Chip and Putt Championship

 April 7, 2013 - During the 2013 Masters Tournament, it was announced that the Drive Chip and Putt Championship was being brought back.  Some might remember that Mutual of Omaha formerly sponsored this event but in 2008, after 10 years of sponsorship, they felt that they had accomplished what they set out to do; which was to encourage more juniors to take up the game.  Now, 5 years later, the PGA - USGA and the Masters Tournament Foundation are bringing this skills challenge back and with an incredible bonus.  Formerly, the National level of this event was held in Orlando, Florida but having the Masters Tournament Foundation support means that the National competition will be held at Augusta National Golf Club - on the Sunday before the Masters Tournament in 2014!!!  The driving and chipping events would be at the Augusta practice facility but the putting would take place on the 18th green. Below is the press release:

AUGUSTA, Ga. – In an effort to promote interest and participation in the game of golf, the Masters Tournament Foundation, United States Golf Association (USGA) and The PGA of America announced Monday the creation of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, a free, nationwide junior skills competition that will conclude at Augusta National Golf Club in 2014.

Participants in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship will advance through local and regional qualifiers conducted throughout the United States. Competitors will be comprised of boys and girls ages 7-15, and they will compete in separate divisions in four age categories. The regional champions in each of the boys and girls divisions from the four age categories will advance to the finals to be held at Augusta National the Sunday before the Masters Tournament, April 6, 2014. The Championship finals will be produced and broadcast by Golf Channel.

“Generations of players have been inspired by the dream of sinking a winning putt on the 18th green at Augusta National,” said Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament Foundation. “Now an exciting opportunity exists to make that dream a reality. I am confident that our collective efforts with the USGA and The PGA of America will showcase the talents of kids who already play this game and motivate others to give the sport a try.”

Said Glen Nager, President of the USGA: “Among our many responsibilities as a governing body is finding creative ways to make the game more accessible to our nation’s young people. The Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is an exciting new opportunity to fulfill this role, and together with our partners at the Masters Tournament Foundation and The PGA of America we look forward to leading its long-term success.”

“The game of golf is built on several fundamental skills, which our 27,000 PGA Professionals around the country teach players of all ages every day,” said Ted Bishop, President of The PGA of America. “The ability to successfully drive, chip and putt a golf ball are some of the basics to the enjoyment of the sport, and we believe this competition will motivate young players to work hard, practice these principle skills and learn to make golf a game of a lifetime.”

Local qualifying events will take place at courses in 19 states and Washington, D.C. In total, local qualifiers will provide more than 17,000 opportunities to compete. An extensive network of PGA Professionals and USGA professional staff and volunteers will conduct these competitions around the country.

Regional qualifying will be conducted at courses in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas (2), Virginia and Washington.

Kyle waits for his turn at the Putting station

There was no charge to sign up, but due to the overwhelming response - there would be a drawing of names to see if you could compete.  I couldn't get to the computer fast enough.  There were only 10 local qualifying events per region and a maximum of 20 entrants per age group per site.  I had no idea of what the dates were, or the location of any of the local sites when I signed Kyle up and I hoped if he got in that it didn't conflict with any of the tournaments he was already signed up for. We didn't find out until May 3rd that Kyle had been selected and it was "first come-first served" to get a qualifying site close to home.

I immediately hit reply and an hour and a half later learned that Kyle's local qualifier was at the Golden Bear Golf Center on June 8.  It just kept getting better.  Kyle would be competing at the very place he first learned to play golf!  Not only that: the Regional event would also be at Golden Bear - just 15 minutes from our house.  It literally seemed too good to be true.  The timing was perfect - the location was perfect...

Five years ago, when Kyle participated in the last Mutual of Omaha DCP (DriveChipPutt) - he won the local qualifier in Irving and we had to travel to Austin for the Regional, where he got 2nd. It was the first year we'd heard of the event and had no idea it would be their last.  And now the event was back and looked to be better than ever.


 Local Qualifier
Golden Bear Golf Center
June 8:  The day of the local qualifier arrived and the weather was absolutely perfect.  Kyle's tee time was 9:15 and again - it was great to be so close to home.  Kyle got warmed up and then headed for the Putting station first.  He was in one of the first for Boys 12-13 and it was surprising that we didn't know any of the other boys competing in his age division, so we had no idea what to expect, points-wise.  All of the boys that we did know, were assigned to other locations: this was only the 3rd event for North Texas and results for the other 2 hadn't been posted yet.


We watched with eager anticipation as Kyle set up to putt.   He holed one of his putts - made 60 points in that event and secured 2nd place for Putting.  Moving on to the chipping where he showed great touch - 45 points and 1st Place in Chipping.  Kyle had said that he wanted to go to Augusta and he did exactly what he needed to do to give him a chance at Regionals - he put 3 drives in the grid - posted a whopping 61 points - and won the Driving event as well.  His 166 points gave him the overall win by 32 points.  Other local events across the US had begun on June 1 and the results were slowly trickling in.  I would check the site daily - hoping to see familiar names.


Now comes the waiting.  We learned the names of the other Boys 12-13 winners from Palo Duro and Keeton Park but still had 7 more events in North Texas - the last one not until July 26.  Throughout the summer, other DCP local qualifiers were held across the US, but I hardly recognized any of the junior golfers - but I knew that meant that the event was accomplishing the goal to get kids involved - which was awesome. 
Our Regional qualifier was scheduled for August 13 and the wait seemed to drag on.  Although the Regional Qualifiers would be presenting medals for the top three scorers in each skill and overall points - there was no 2nd place for the trip.

Regional Qualifier
Golden Bear Golf Center

Kyle and Robert Lahrman practice putting

August 13:  The wait was finally over.  The day of the Regional qualifier arrived and it was another picture perfect day.  Kyle would again be starting at 9:15, in the second of seven groups for the Boys 12-13 and now we saw all the familiar faces we had cheered for at the other local qualifiers.  Kyle, Robert Lahrman, Noah Goodwin, Crosby Guercio and Scott Roden were practicing together on the putting green - the first event.  Kyle struggled early on - the format had changed - instead of the short putt first, they started with the 30 footer and ended with the 6 foot.  Kyle holed that one and finished the putting with 30 points.


He carried that positive finish over to chipping, knowing that he had some serious ground to make up. His first chip lipped out and the second checked up short, giving him 25 points after the first two attempts; but again, he holed out the third and finished the chipping with 50 points.  He moved on to the final skill: driving - the event that had proven to be his highest scoring opportunity before. 


Unfortunately, there was a back-up on the driving range.  Kyle and the rest of the Boys 12-13 watched and waited for the previous divisions to finish.  By the time Kyle was able to start, it had been almost 30 minutes since the chipping, but he stretched a bit and made sure that his first drive stayed in the grid - over 230 yards.


His next one went further and Kyle was able to send his third drive 292 yards!  He posted 65 points in the Driving portion, 145 points overall !!

Fellow competitors checking to see what Kyle's score will be

At last, all the scores were up.  The Boys 12-13 Division had concluded and we were overjoyed that Kyle took first place in the Driving, the Chipping and best of all - the Overall Title.  Kyle was going to Augusta !!!!  He was interviewed for the Golf Channel and the NTPGA had a camera crew on hand to talk to all the winners.

In reading the results from all the other Local and Regional Qualifiers, I learned that there was no "set" schedule for how the events were set up.  Some started with putting, some started with chipping and some started with driving. Not that it mattered - I just thought it was curious and it made it more interesting as I followed the results .  How did the golfer do in a skill if they had a good start or a bad start? I was extremely proud of how Kyle handled himself in the Regional event, after a very shaky start in the first station: Putting.  His first putt gave him no points and he only got 5 with the second, so watching him put his third shot in the hole and get 25 points was great.  He knew that the boys following him were great putters and I saw his determination as he moved to the chipping station  He went from one of the lowest scores for one station to winning the very next two.  Nationals, of course, would be different:  the kids would start with driving and finish with putting. 



Kyle - 1st Overall; Jack Billingsley - 3rd; Matthew O'Steen 2nd Overall

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