Young Texans Qualify For 2016 DCP Finals
Seven talented youngsters from Texas are among the 80 junior golfers representing 30 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces to earn invitations to Augusta National Golf Club for the third annual Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals. The popular event will be played Sunday, April 3, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament.
The Drive, Chip & Putt Championship is a joint initiative by the United States Golf Association, the Masters and the PGA of America. It’s a free nationwide youth golf development program open to girls and boys ages 7-15 – competing in separate divisions in four age categories – focused on the three fundamental skills employed in golf and tapping the creativity and enthusiasm of young golfers.
The three girls and four boys who will be representing the Lone Star State are: Avery Zweig of Dallas (Girls 7-9); Elle Fox of Copperas Cove (Girls 12-13); Julia Gregg of Dallas (Girls 14-15); Stephen Hernandez of Houston (Boys 7-9); Miguel Flores Acton of San Angelo (Boys 10-11); Ryan Hailey of Mansfield (Boys 12-13); and Marco Punzo of Prosper (Boys 14-15).
The road to the National Finals was a long and difficult one. It began with local qualifying held from May-July 2015 at more than 250 sites throughout the U.S. 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 junior golfers 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.
Six of the seven Texas qualifiers punched their ticket to Augusta National at the Golf Club of Houston, site of the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open. Zweig was the only one to take a different route. She qualified for the National Finals at famed Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.
For the seven Texas youngsters – and their friends and family – this coming April will bring an opportunity that many others have dreamed of but couldn’t quite grasp. But as these age-group winners realized, the most important aspect to advancing to the next step is having fun and embracing the opportunity that Drive, Chip & Putt provides to participants from all over the country.