Angela Zhang of Bellevue, Wash. may be a young star in the making after her dominant performance, winning the Girls 7-9 division by nine points with wins in the drive and putt portion. Angela placed second in the chipping portion, earning nine points to finish with 29, one shy of a perfect score.
Renewing what has quickly become a Masters week highlight, 80 boys and girls, excited yet poised as they tested their skills on one of golf’s grandest stages, competed in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on Sunday, April 7.
The sixth-annual competition began in an early morning drizzle that gave way to a fair spring sky. As always, the contestants, ranging in age from 7 to 15, performed at Augusta National in front of both admiring patrons and encouraging past Masters champions. The Green Jacket winners on hand included Bubba Watson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Nick Faldo, Mark O’Meara, Bernhard Langer, Mike Weir and defending champion Patrick Reed.
“Trying to get some tips,” said Watson, the two-time Masters champion, as he walked toward to the 18th green to watch the putting competition.
Joining the awards ceremonies under the big Oak tree behind the clubhouse was Jennifer Kupcho, who had made history herself by winning the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur the day before.
Angela, 9, had the pleasure of meeting Kupcho after winning the Girls 7-9 division. Angela took first place in her division in driving and chipping and came in second in putting to earn a commanding overall victory. Standing 4-feet-10 and weighing 75 pounds, she belted a drive 189 yards through the damp air, 33 yards longer than her nearest competitor.
As television cameras closed in and camera shutters clicked, Angela kept her composure in what was her first appearance in the National Finals.
“I try to focus on what I’m doing and pretend it’s just me,” Angela said.
To get to the National Finals held at Augusta, Angela won the Girls 7-9 division at the Regional qualifier held at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., hitting a 215-yard drive en route to posting a final score of 120. Earlier this year, she received an ‘A’ in school for her drawing of Augusta National’s 12th hole, Golden Bell.
Sunday’s other winners included Conner Ford (Mount Vernon, Ky.), Boys 7-9; Sahish Reddy (Atlanta), Boys 10-11; Sophia Li (New York, N.Y.), Girls 10-11; Matthew Vital (Bethlehem, Pa.), Boys 12-13; Yana Wilson (Henderson, Nev.), Girls 12-13; Treed Huang (Katy, Texas), Boys 14-15; Nicole Gal (Oakville, Ontario), Girls 14-15.
For complete results of this year’s National Finals, visit www.drivechipandputt.com.
(Content for this article is courtesy Paul Rogers and Drive, Chip & Putt Championships.)