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 & Putt National Finals, to be played on Sunday, April 2, 2017, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament.
Coverage on Golf Channel begins at 7 a.m. ET with pre-game coverage, following by the championship at 8 a.m. ET until 1 p.m.
Four young players from Washington have made it to this year’s Finals. Jack McMullin of Seattle, competing in the Boys’ 14-15 age group, also previously played in the 2014 Finals in the 12-13 age group; Mia Herendeen of Bellevue, Wash. will compete in the Girls’ 7-9 age group; Malia Schroeder of Arlington, Wash. will be competing in the Girls’ 12-13 group in her second consecutive Finals; and Jeff Seong of Tacoma, Wash. will compete in the Boys’ 7-9 age group.
A joint initiative by the Masters Tournament, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip & 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.
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.
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 & Putt Championship, visit www.DriveChipandPutt.com.