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Drive, Chip and Putt Regional Champions earn invitations to national finals at Augusta

By The PGA of America
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Drive, Chip and Putt Regional Champions earn invitations to national finals at Augusta

 
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Eighty junior golfers representing 30 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces have earned an invitation to Augusta National Golf Club to compete in the third annual Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals, to be played on Sunday, April 3, 2016, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament.
 
A joint initiative by the United States Golf Association (USGA), the Masters and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free nationwide youth golf development program 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 creativity and enthusiasm of young golfers.
 
Results of the 10 regional qualifiers – the third and final stage leading to the 2016 National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club – yielded seven returning participants from previous National Finals:
 
Played in the 2015 National Finals:
--Kynadie Adams, of Gallatin, Tenn., won the Girls’ 12-13 age group at Valhalla Golf Club
--Vanessa Borovilos, of Toronto, won the Girls’ 7-9 age group at Oakmont Country Club
--Anika Dy, of Traverse City, Mich., won the Girls’ 14-15 age group at Medinah Country Club
--Jayla Kucy, of Camrose, Alberta, Canada, won the Girls’ 10-11 age group at Chambers Bay
 
Played in the 2014 National Finals:
--Tiya Chowdary, of Belle Mead, N.J., won the Girls’ 12-13 age group at The Country Club
--Nolan Haynes, of Barberton, Ohio, won the Boys’ 10-11 age group at Oakmont Country Club
--Alexa Pano, of Lake Worth, Fla., won the Girls’ 10-11 age group at TPC Sawgrass
 
The road to the National Finals 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 four age categories in separate boys’ and girls’ divisions, advanced to 50 sub-regional qualifiers in July and August. Two juniors in each age and gender division then moved on to 10 regional qualifiers, taking place over two weekends 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, sub-regional 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:
--Weston Miller of Jackson, Ky., rolled to a win in the Boys’ 7-9 division at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., finishing with 96 points as he racked up in chipping (40) and putting (41). Miller is one of two Kentuckians to earn a spot in the National Finals, as he'll be joined by Jay Nimmo, of Benton, whose score of 133 points was 15 points clear of anyone in the Boys’ 12-13 division. Nimmo's score, which was bolstered by 65 points in putting, would have won any other age group except for the Boys’ 14-15 division. There, Chase Venn, of Columbia, Mo., scored in the 40s in every category and finished with 136 points for a well-earned six-point victory.
 
--Miguel Flores Acton of San Angelo, Texas, made his first two chips en route to winning the Boys’ 10-11 division at the Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas. His favorite golfer is fellow-lefty Bubba Watson, who appeared on numerous national TV shows in March to promote the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. Dallas native Julia Gregg, who won the Girls’ 14-15 division, played in the girls U.S. Junior Amateur at Tulsa, Okla., in July.
 
--Nicole Criscone, of Clifton Park, N.Y., fell four points short of making it to the National Finals last year in the Regional Final at Bethpage Black. This time at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., she advanced in the Girls’ 10-11 division after finishing with 124 points. Tiya Chowdary of Montgomery, N.J., is returning to Augusta after a one-year hiatus. She advanced in 2014 and didn’t attempt to qualify for 2015, but her 132 points were easily enough to earn her a return trip in the Girls’ 12-13 division. Chowdary has played in several New Jersey state events and one American Junior Golf Association competition.
 
--Skylar Thompson, 15, of Buford, Ga., playing in her third regional qualifying event in the last year of her eligibility, finally earned her place in the National Finals by winning the Girls’ 14-15 division with 144 points at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Thompson qualified for her first U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship earlier this summer. Alexa Pano, of Lake Worth, Fla., who competed in the 2014 National Finals, won the Girls’ 10-11 division.
 
--Ty Griggs, from Manteca, Calif., overcame modest performances in chipping (31 points of a possible 75) and putting (42 points) with the best driving performance of any golfer in any classification – hitting drives of 278, 286 and 273 yards. He compiled 140 points overall to win the Boys’ 12-13 division at Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash.
 
--Three National Finalists are from Canada; two of them – Vanessa Borovilos (Girls’ 7-9 division) and Elaine Giantsopoulos (Girls’ 12-13 division) – are from Ontario and advanced from the Oakmont Country Club regional in Oakmont, Pa. Borovilos scored 121 points and
advanced with a 19-point cushion, while Giantsopoulos’ 107 points were enough to qualifier her for the National Finals by one point.
 
--Tate Herrenbruck, of Salina, Kan., will be making his first trip to Augusta next spring after winning the Boys’ 12-13 division at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., but it won’t be the first time down Magnolia Lane for his family. Tate’s older brother, Grant, advanced to the National Finals last April, finishing sixth in the Boys’ 14-15 division.
 
--At Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill., Anika Dy, of Traverse City, Mich., won the Girls’ 14-15 division with a final score of 157. Dy, who is one of seven participants who will return to the National Finals for a second time, had the best score of anyone at Medinah on Saturday after finishing first in chipping and putting and tied for second in driving.
 
--Arielle Keating, from Colorado Springs, Colo., holed the second of her three chip shots from 15 feet in winning the Girls’ 14-15 division at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, Calif. Keating participated in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship last year but didn’t get past the sub-regionals.
 
--Brian Feinstein, of McLean, Va., advanced to the National Finals after scoring 126 points in the Boys’ 14-15 division at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md. Feinstein is the nephew of notable journalist and author John Feinstein.
 
For more information about the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, please visit www.DriveChipandPutt.com.
 
REGIONAL QUALIFYING RESULTS 
Qualifying sites:
September 12: TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
September 12: Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, Ky.
September 12: Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minn.
September 12: Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.
September 12: Chambers Bay University, Place, Wash.
September 13: The Country Club, Brookline, Mass.
September 13: Golf Club of Houston, Humble, Texas
September 19: Medinah Country Club, Medinah, Ill.
September 19: Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla, Calif.
September 20: Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Md.
 
Qualifying results:
Girls 7-9
(Name, Point Total, Hometown, Qualifying Site)
Vanessa Borovilos, 121, Toronto, Ontario, Oakmont Country Club
Mary Miller, 116, Savannah, Georgia, TPC Sawgrass
Emerson Blair, 113, West Point, Mississippi, Golf Club of Houston
Aadyn Long, 112, Lehi, Utah, Chambers Bay
Avery Zweig, 105, Dallas, Texas, Hazeltine National Golf Club
Kyla Layman, 102, Traverse City, Michigan, Medinah Country Club
Gianna Papa, 94, Foster, Rhode Island, The Country Club
Angelina Tolentino, 92, Mount Laurel, New Jersey, Congressional Country Club
Caitlyn Chin, 78, Greenwood, Colorado, Torrey Pines Golf Course
Lauryn Olivia Leonard, 60, Montgomery, Alabama, Valhalla Golf Club
 
Girls 10-11
(Name, Point Total, Hometown, Qualifying Site)
Leigh Chien, 141, Irvine, California, Torrey Pines Golf Course
Emily Duan, 136, Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Medinah Country Club
Morgan Guepet, 124, New Orleans, Louisiana, Golf Club of Houston
Nicole Criscone, 124, Clifton Park, New York, The Country Club
Jayla Kucy, 123, Camrose, Alberta, Chambers Bay
Kathryn VanArragon, 119, Blaine, Minnesota, Hazeltine National Golf Club
Alexa Pano, 117, Lake Worth, Florida, TPC Sawgrass
Paris Fieldings, 115, Suffolk, Virginia, Congressional Country Club
Mia Raines, 112, Galena, Ohio, Oakmont Country Club
Siena Minor, 81, Columbia, Missouri, Valhalla Golf Club
 
Girls 12-13
(Name, Point Total, Hometown, Qualifying Site)
Sophia Burnett, 141, Bluffton, South Carolina, TPC Sawgrass
Kayla Sam, 133, Anaheim Hills, California, Torrey Pines Golf Course
Tiya Chowdary, 132, Belle Mead, New Jersey, The Country Club
Elle Fox, 128, Copperas Cove, Texas, Golf Club of Houston
Malia Schroeder, 123, Arlington, Washington, Chambers Bay
Stephanie Su, 122, South Barrington, Illinois, Medinah Country Club
Nicole Adam, 121, Pinehurst, North Carolina, Congressional Country Club
Kaitlyn Hanna, 112, Omaha, Nebraska, Hazeltine National Golf Club
Kynadie Adams, 108, Gallatin, Tennessee, Valhalla Golf Club
Elaine Giantsopoulos, 107, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Oakmont Country Club
 
Girls 14-15
(Name, Point Total, Hometown, Qualifying Site)
Anika Dy, 157, Traverse City, Michigan, Medinah Country Club
Kyra Cox, 155, South Salem, New York, The Country Club
Skylar Thompson, 144, Buford, Georgia, TPC Sawgrass
Sofia Young, 139, Benicia, California, Chambers Bay
Sophie Guo, 135, Bluffton, South Carolina, Congressional Country Club
Natalia Sompolvorachai, 135, West Chester, Ohio, Oakmont Country Club
Julia Gregg, 128, Dallas, Texas, Golf Club of Houston
Arielle Keating, 118, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Torrey Pines Golf Course
Megan Whittaker, 116, Elkhorn, Nebraska, Hazeltine National Golf Club
Alyssa Montgomery, 100, Knoxville, Tennessee, Valhalla Golf Club
 
Boys 7-9
(Name, Point Total, Hometown, Qualifying Site)
Stephen Hernandez, 123, Houston, Texas, Golf Club of Houston
Jayden Lizama, 119, Elk Grove, California, Chambers Bay
Hugh Faulkner, 114, Greenville, South Carolina, Congressional Country Club
Ryan Light, 112, Loganville, Georgia, TPC Sawgrass
Adriel Luis Abaoag, 108, Burbank, California, Torrey Pines Golf Course
Colin Norton, 106, Jackson, Michigan, Medinah Country Club
Jack St. Ledger, 103, Little Falls, New Jersey, The Country Club
Charlie Danuloff, 98, Ontario, Ohio, Oakmont Country Club
Weston Miller, 96, Jackson, Kentucky, Valhalla Golf Club
Sam Udovich, 79, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, Hazeltine National Golf Club
 
Boys 10-11
(Name, Point Total, Hometown, Qualifying Site)
NaShawn Tyson, 157, North Palm Beach, Florida, TPC Sawgrass
Christian Kim, 155, Vernon Hills, Illinois, Medinah Country Club
Miguel Flores Acton, 154, San Angelo, Texas, Golf Club of Houston
Nathan Sampson, 138, Temecula, California, Torrey Pines Golf Course
Cooper Jones, 128, Highland, Utah, Chambers Bay
Bach Ngo, 124, Frederick, Maryland, Congressional Country Club
J.P. Hepler, 121, Overland Park, Kansas, Hazeltine National Golf Club
Nolan Haynes, 121, Barberton, Ohio, Oakmont Country Club
Sam O'Hara, 111, New York, New York, The Country Club
Owen Bright, 110, Roanoke, Virginia, Valhalla Golf Club
 
Boys 12-13
(Name, Point Total, Hometown, Qualifying Site)
Jones Free, 155, Marion Junction, Alabama, TPC Sawgrass
Eric Doyle, 153, San Diego, California, Torrey Pines Golf Course
Ryan Hailey, 143, Mansfield, Texas, Golf Club of Houston
Ty Griggs, 140, Manteca, California, Chambers Bay
Eric Klutke, 140, Crystal Lake, Illinois, Medinah Country Club
Michael DeRienzo, 139, Southbury, Connecticut, The Country Club
Daniel Adkins, 134, Holly Springs, North Carolina, Congressional Country Club
Jay Nimmo, 133, Benton, Kentucky, Valhalla Golf Club
Skyler Fox, 125, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Oakmont Country Club
Tate Herrenbruck, 123, Salina, Kansas, Hazeltine National Golf Club
 
Boys 14-15
(Name, Point Total, Hometown, Qualifying Site)
Marco Punzo, 165, Prosper, Texas, Golf Club of Houston
Daniel Uranga, 161, Wilder, Idaho, Chambers Bay
Michael Thorbjornsen, 154, Wellesley, Massachusetts, The Country Club
Johnny Wright, 152, Orlando, Florida, TPC Sawgrass
Tommy Sullivan, 144, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Medinah Country Club
Chase Venn, 136, Columbia, Missouri, Valhalla Golf Club
Andrew LaCongo, 135, Holland, New York, Oakmont Country Club
Caleb Kimmel, 131, Olathe, Kansas, Hazeltine National Golf Club
Luke Trujillo, 129, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Torrey Pines Golf Course
Brian Feinstein, 126, McLean, Virginia, Congressional Country Club
 
About the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship
A joint initiative founded in 2013 by the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and the PGA of America, the Drive, Chip & 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 & 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 & Putt Championship, please visit: 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 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 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 www.pgamediacenter.com.
 
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