MISSOULA — In 2013, the United States Golf Association created the Drive, Chip and Putt junior golf development competition that aims to grow the game. Canyon River Golf Club has become the regional qualifier over the past few years and was again in 2019.
Thursday at Canyon River, kids ages 7-15 got three drives, three chips, and three putts to accumulate as many points as possible.
“I like drive, chip and putt a lot because the pressure is on, and there are only nine shots,” said Canadian golfer Ryker Flikinger.
Thursday was the qualifier with the top three girls and boys moving on to the sub-regional in Idaho on Aug. 9.
“I get better because before I get to practice and sometimes I get nervous, but then I get a lot better when I hit,” said Missoula golfer Evie Clark.
While the program aims to introduce the game of golf, most of the kids have been serious about the game for a while now.
“My parents started me in golf when I was about 3 years old. I had plastic clubs and just batted balls around the house. Then when I was about 11 years old I started tournament golf and competing. I just love the scenery and being outside,” said Flikinger.
If any of these kids make it through the next two stages of the program they get to compete in the national finals at Augusta National the Sunday before the Masters Tournament. While that seems like a career-high, these kids have set the bar a little higher.
“Kind of want to be a pro just like the girls that are the pros right now,” said Clark.
“I want to be a professional golfer,” said Jett Chan, an Alberta golfer.
Click here for the final results.