Taighan Chea of Bothell, Wash. took home the title in the Boys 7-9 age division at the National Finals of the 2018 Drive, Chip & Putt Championships, held April 1 at Augusta National Golf Club.
In third place after the drive discipline, Taighan Chea delivered two strong chips that came within 11’2” of the hole to put him in second place heading to the final discipline of the day – putting. Chea sank a curling 15-foot putt, his final putt of the event, to claim the Boys 7-9 age group national title. He celebrated with a big fist pump as he walked of the green and received a high-five and pat on the back from two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson.
“The course today was the best turf I have ever, and will ever, play on in my life,” Chea said. “I think my putting was the best today because I made my last putt and it really put a smile on my face.”
Chea, who plays out of Inglewood Golf Club in Kenmore, Wash., had made it through local qualifying at Mount Si Golf Course, subregional qualifying at The Home Course, and regional qualifying at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Click here to view final results.
Tens of thousands of youngsters had the opportunity to qualify for the event, which began with 268 local qualifiers at courses across all 50 states last summer. From there, the top finishers advanced through 53 subregionals to one of 10 regional qualifiers at some of the nation’s most acclaimed venues and championship sites. Finally, the 80 winners across the four age divisions earned a trip to Augusta National Golf Club to participate in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on the eve of the 2018 Masters Tournament.
“All of us at Augusta National are focused on the future of golf, and this event remains one of the most meaningful endeavors in the history of our Club,” said Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament. “Our goal here is to inspire a lifelong passion for the game of golf, and if our participation helps, then we’ve accomplished our mission. I would like to say how inspired we all are by each and every one of these kids, and I’m pretty confident that the game of golf has a great future.”
About Drive, Chip and Putt
A joint initiative founded in 2013 by the Masters Tournament, USGA and the PGA of America, Drive, Chip and Putt 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, Drive, Chip and Putt provides aspiring junior golfers an opportunity to play with their peers in qualifiers around the country. Participants who advance through local, subregional 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 Drive, Chip and Putt, please visit: DriveChipandPutt.com.