2019 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finalists Announced
October 2, 2018
2019 Drive, Chip and Putt National finalists include three Minnesotans: Ryder Carlson, of Minnetonka, Bella Leonhart, of Marine on St. Croix, and Kathryn VanArragon, of Blaine.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Oct. 2, 2018) – Eighty junior golfers representing 27 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces have earned an invitation to Augusta National Golf Club to compete in the sixth annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, to be played on Sunday, April 7, 2019, prior to the start of the Masters Tournament.
Conducted in partnership between the Masters Tournament, the PGA of America and the USGA, Drive, Chip and Putt is a free, nationwide youth golf development program open to boys and girls, ages 7-15, in four age categories. The three-pronged competition tests the skills essential to playing the game – accuracy in driving, chipping and putting.
Results of the 10 regional qualifiers – the third and final stage leading to the 2019 National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club – yielded 15 returning competitors, including impressive four-time finalists Megha Ganne, Treed Huang and Vanessa Borovilos. Returning finalists are:
- Vanessa Borovilos (2018 Girls 10-11 National Champion and 2016, 2015 National Finalist), of Toronto, Ontario
- Caitlyn Chin (2016 National Finalist), of Greenwood Village, Colo.
- Megha Ganne (2018, 2017 and 2015 National Finalist), of Holmdel, N.J.
- Nolan Haynes (2016, 2014 National Finalist), of Barberton, Ohio
- Maye Huang (2017 Girls 7-9 National Champion), of Katy, Texas
- Treed Huang (2018, 2017 National Finalist and 2014 Boys 7-9 National Champion), of Katy, Texas
- Sara Im (2018 Girls 12-13 National Champion), of Duluth, Ga.
- Jay Leng, Jr. (2015 Boys 7-9 National Champion), of La Jolla, Calif.
- Patmon Malcom, Jr. (2018 National Finalist), of Alpharetta, Ga.
- Kasey Maralack (2018 National Finalist), of Snoqualmie, Wash.
- PJ Maybank (2018 Boys 12-13 National Champion), of Cheboygan, Mich.
- Julia Misemer (2015 National Finalist), of Overland Park, Kan.
- Madilyn Newman (2017 National Finalist), of Knoxville, Tenn.
- Sahish Reddy (2018 National Finalist), of Duluth, Ga.
- Kathryn VanArragon (2016 National Finalist), of Blaine, Minn.
Local qualifying for the sixth season began in May and was held at 290 sites throughout all 50 states this summer. The top-three scorers per venue, in each of the four age categories in separate boys and girls divisions, advanced to 57 subregional qualifiers in July and August. Two juniors in each age and gender division then competed at the regional level in September, held at some of the top courses in the country, including several U.S. Open and PGA Championship venues.
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 the 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.
Notes from Regional Qualifying:
- After posting identical scores of 141 at the end of the regional qualifier at Whistling Straits Golf Course (2004, 2010, 2015 PGA Championship and 2020 Ryder Cup host), Sarah Balding edged friend Shannyn Vogler to win the Girls 14-15 division in a playoff. Balding, whose sister is a collegiate golfer at DePauw University said, “It was nerve-wracking but there are little things I tell myself that my sister taught me to help me calm down.” In the Boys 10-11 division, Ryder Carlson punched his ticket to the National Finals with a score of 109, edging out the rest of his division by three points. According to his father, Ryan Carlson, Ryder was named after the Ryder Cup.
- Paige Radebach first picked up a golf club less than a year ago, but that didn’t stop her from winning the Girls 7-9 division by 10 points at Muirfield Village Golf Club (site of the Memorial Tournament). “My full name is Paige Alexandria Radebach, so my initials are PAR,” she said. “I was born to play golf.” PJ Maybank returns to Augusta National after winning last year’s Boys 12-13 national title. A dominating performance in the putting competition resulted in 70 points in the skill and a place atop the Boys 12-13 regional division. He credits the good play to his superstition of wearing two different colored shoes for good luck.
- Angela Zhang won the Girls 7-9 division at Chambers Bay Golf Course (2015 U.S. Open Championship host), hitting a 215-yard drive en route to posting a final score of 120. Earlier this year, she received an ‘A’ in school for her drawing of Augusta National’s 12th hole, Golden Bell. Now, she’ll have a chance to see the hole in person for the first time this April. After rolling his 30-foot putt next to the cup, Ian Bruchhauser won the Boys 14-15 division with 140 points, making him Alaska’s first National Finalist. Due to cold, wintry conditions in Alaska, Bruchhauser only has two-and-a-half months of outdoor practice time at his home course.
- After a 142-point performance in the regional qualifier at Congressional Country Club (2011 U.S. Open Championship host), Megha Ganne won the Girls 14-15 division to become a four-time National Finalist. “It never gets old,” she said. “I wish there was no age limit. This is my last year, and I’m really excited to be going back.” In the Boys 12-13 division, Matthew Vital advanced to the National Finals in his first trip to regional qualifying and his fourth overall attempt in Drive, Chip and Putt. “I’m looking forward to being there,” he said. “It looks like such a cool place on TV.”
- After stellar performances in the regional qualifier at The Club at Carlton Woods (site of the 2014 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship), both Maye and Treed Huang will make return trips to Augusta not only as National Finalists and Drive, Chip and Putt champions, but also as sister and brother. Maye Huang, the 2017 Girls 7-9 National Champion, won the Girls 10-11 division to secure her second appearance in the National Finals. Older brother Treed Huang, the 2014 Boys 7-9 National Champion and 2017 and 2018 National Finalist, will make his record-tying fourth trip to the National Finals after winning the Boys 14-15 division by three points. The Huang siblings have advanced to Augusta National together once before, previously in 2017. “[Maye] is a big factor in my game, to have someone to practice with every day,” Treed said. “We compete a lot and that brings each of our games to a higher level.”
- On Victoria Kuranga’s fourth attempt to reach the National Finals, the 13-year-old’s dream became reality at The Honors Course (site of the 2016 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship) with an 11-point win in the Girls 12-13 division. She’s hoping to bring back a Tiger Woods autograph from Augusta. Matthew Troutman, winner of the Boys 14-15 division, scored 179 total points to qualify for his first National Finals. He is coached by PGA professional Mike Thomas, father of 2017 PGA Championship winner and PGA Tour Player of the Year Justin Thomas.
- Milan Norton edged the competition by four points to win the Girls 7-9 division at Torrey Pines Golf Course (2008 and 2021 U.S. Open Championship host). She claims her “Best Day Ever” socks helped provide the luck needed to reach Augusta National. “I knew it was going to be the best day ever when I put on the socks,” said Norton. Jay Leng, Jr., winner of the Boys 12-13 division, will make a return appearance to the National Finals. Needing to make a 30-foot putt to advance, Leng drained the putt to win by a point, finishing with the day’s top score (157 points). The putt was reminiscent of the one he made in a playoff at the 2015 National Finals to win the Boys 7-9 division.
- Vanessa Borovilos claimed a 20-point victory in the Girls 12-13 division at Winged Foot Golf Club (2006 and 2020 U.S. Open Championship host) to qualify for the National Finals for the fourth time. She will attempt to win back-to-back championships after winning the 2018 Girls 10-11 national title a year ago. Carter Lavigne, winner of the regional Boys 7-9 division, traveled nearly 700 miles from New Brunswick, Canada, to compete in the regional qualifier. He started playing mini-golf at age 2, regular golf at age 4 and, by age 6, beat his dad for the first time. “People don’t ask [who beat who] anymore,” said dad Darsey Lavigne.
- At last year’s National Finals, Kate Barber attended as a patron. After winning the Girls 12-13 division at TPC Sawgrass (site of The Players), she’ll be bringing her golf clubs to Augusta National this year. “The first thing I’m going to do when I get to Augusta National is eat an egg salad sandwich,” she said. Ryan Nana Tanke gave up a ticket to the Ryder Cup in Paris to compete in the Boys 7-9 division, but the gamble paid off with a win and an invitation to the National Finals. Nana Tanke lives mostly in Paris, but spends two months annually in Florida, where he is coached by PGA Master Professional Warren Bottke, who first taught the game to two-time U.S. Open champion, PGA Championship winner and Ryder Cup participant Brooks Koepka.
- Julia Misemer, four years removed from an appearance in the 2015 National Finals, will return to Augusta National after winning the Girls 14-15 division at Bellerive Country Club (2018 PGA Championship host). She won her division by 43 points, hitting two drives more than 260 yards and making putts of six and 30 feet. Isaac Rumler needed a 30-foot putt to win the Boys 10-11 division and advance to his first-ever National Finals. With the pressure on, he calmly made the putt to claim the victory by two points. “I want to see the pros first,” he said. “Hopefully I will meet some.”
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 best 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 Drive, Chip and Putt, please visit www.DriveChipandPutt.com.
REGIONAL QUALIFYING RESULTS
Date Host Site City, State
Sept. 8 Whistling Straits Golf Course Sheboygan, Wis. Sept. 8 Muirfield Village Golf Club Dublin, Ohio
Sept. 9 Chambers Bay Golf Course University Place, Wash.
Sept. 9 Congressional Country Club Bethesda, Md.
Sept. 16 The Club at Carlton Woods The Woodlands, Texas
Sept. 16 The Honors Course Ooltewah, Tenn.
Sept. 22 Torrey Pines Golf Course San Diego, Calif.
Sept. 23 Winged Foot Golf Club Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Sept. 29 TPC Sawgrass Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Sept. 29 Bellerive Country Club St. Louis, Mo.
|Lilian She||82||Buffalo Grove||Illinois||Whistling Straits|
|Paige Radebach||81||Webberville||Michigan||Muirfield Village|
|Angela Zhang||120||Bellevue||Washington||Chambers Bay|
|Mckenzie Mueller||87||Wake Forest||North Carolina||Congressional CC|
|Sophia Giga||104||Frisco||Texas||The Club at Carlton Woods|
|Gabriella Moorehead||74||Burlington||North Carolina||The Honors Course|
|Milan Norton||102||Las Vegas||Nevada||Torrey Pines|
|Alexandra Phung||87||Forest Hills||New York||Winged Foot Golf Club|
|Briel Royce||105||Lake Nona||Florida||TPC Sawgrass|
|Taya Belloma||86||Centerville||Iowa||Bellerive Country Club|
|Bella Leonhart||137||Marine on St. Croix||Minnesota||Whistling Straits|
|Beka Yang||96||Sylvania||Ohio||Muirfield Village|
|Anna Jiaxin Huang||138||Vancouver||British Columbia||Chambers Bay|
|Ellen Yu||106||High Point||North Carolina||Congressional CC|
|Maye Huang||128||Katy||Texas||The Club at Carlton Woods|
|Elle Marie Reisner||109||Atlanta||Georgia||The Honors Course|
|Alexis Vakasiuola||130||San Tan Valley||Arizona||Torrey Pines|
|Sophia Li||123||Fresh Meadows||New York||Winged Foot Golf Club|
|Ariana Silva||115||Sunrise||Florida||TPC Sawgrass|
|Caitlyn Chin||115||Greenwood Village||Colorado||Bellerive Country Club|
|Kathryn VanArragon||139||Blaine||Minnesota||Whistling Straits|
|Sophie Stevens||120||Novi||Michigan||Muirfield Village|
|Yana Wilson||134||Henderson||Nevada||Chambers Bay|
|Sydney Yermish||132||Wynnewood||Pennsylvania||Congressional CC|
|Ava McGoey||140||Metairie||Louisiana||The Club at Carlton Woods|
|Victoria Kuranga||138||Decatur||Georgia||The Honors Course|
|Mia Cepeda||145||Kaaawa||Hawaii||Torrey Pines|
|Vanessa Borovilos||125||Toronto||Ontario||Winged Foot Golf Club|
|Kate Barber||120||Savannah||Georgia||TPC Sawgrass|
|Chunya Boonta||131||Centennial||Colorado||Bellerive Country Club|
|Sarah Balding||141||Brookfield||Wisconsin||Whistling Straits|
|Madilyn Newman||114||Knoxville||Tennessee||Muirfield Village|
|Kasey Maralack||150||Snoqualmie||Washington||Chambers Bay|
|Megha Ganne||142||Holmdel||New Jersey||Congressional CC|
|Ryan Ko||120||Plano||Texas||The Club at Carlton Woods|
|Sara Im||139||Duluth||Georgia||The Honors Course|
|Emiko Sverduk||151||Long Beach||California||Torrey Pines|
|Nicole Gal||146||Oakville||Ontario||Winged Foot Golf Club|
|Talia Rodino||148||Fort Myers||Florida||TPC Sawgrass|
|Julia Misemer||142||Overland Park||Kansas||Bellerive Country Club|
|Luciano Giangrossi||126||Evanston||Illinois||Whistling Straits|
|Michael Quallich||83||Pittsburgh||Pennsylvania||Muirfield Village|
|Maverick Stocker||114||Everett||Washington||Chambers Bay|
|Rayhao Feng||129||Short Hills||New Jersey||Congressional CC|
|Chase Hughes||106||Oklahoma City||Oklahoma||The Club at Carlton Woods|
|Conner Ford||124||Mount Vernon||Kentucky||The Honors Course|
|Benny Nelson||123||Los Angeles||California||Torrey Pines|
|Carter Lavigne||108||Moncton||New Brunswick||Winged Foot Golf Club|
|Ryan Nana Tanke||116||Palm Beach Gardens||Florida||TPC Sawgrass|
|Grady Ortiz||104||Colorado Springs||Colorado||Bellerive Country Club|
|Ryder Carlson||109||Minnetonka||Minnesota||Whistling Straits|
|Sahish Reddy||112||Duluth||Georgia||Muirfield Village|
|Aiden Tiet||121||Milpitas||California||Chambers Bay|
|Mihir Roperia||131||Cranbury||New Jersey||Congressional CC|
|Aadi Parmar||131||Selma||Texas||The Club at Carlton Woods|
|Patmon Malcom, Jr.||131||Alpharetta||Georgia||The Honors Course|
|Ryder Rasmussen||151||San Juan Capistrano||California||Torrey Pines|
|Andy Mac||141||Candiac||Quebec||Winged Foot Golf Club|
|Bryson Hughes||160||St. Johns||Florida||TPC Sawgrass|
|Isaac Rumler||126||Silvis||Illinois||Bellerive Country Club|
|Joseph Luchtenburg||139||West Chicago||Illinois||Whistling Straits|
|PJ Maybank||119||Cheboygan||Michigan||Muirfield Village|
|Jonathan Miller||147||Roseville||California||Chambers Bay|
|Matthew Vital||141||Bethlehem||Pennsylvania||Congressional CC|
|Ryder Cowan||133||Edmond||Oklahoma||The Club at Carlton Woods|
|Hudson Wilt||153||Nashville||Tennessee||The Honors Course|
|Jay Leng, Jr.||157||La Jolla||California||Torrey Pines|
|James Bradley||139||East Hampton||New York||Winged Foot Golf Club|
|Garret Ebbert||155||Longwood||Florida||TPC Sawgrass|
|John Guerra||132||St. Louis||Missouri||Bellerive Country Club|
|Joshua Pehl||155||Sugar Grove||Illinois||Whistling Straits|
|Nolan Haynes||133||Barberton||Ohio||Muirfield Village|
|Ian Bruchhauser||140||Anchorage||Alaska||Chambers Bay|
|Nathan Drogin||137||Essex Fells||New Jersey||Congressional CC|
|Treed Huang||150||Katy||Texas||The Club at Carlton Woods|
|Matthew Troutman||179||Louisville||Kentucky||The Honors Course|
|Tyler Kowack||153||San Diego||California||Torrey Pines|
|Owen Walsh||147||Katonah||New York||Winged Foot Golf Club|
|Andrew McLauchlan||145||Neptune Beach||Florida||TPC Sawgrass|
|Alec Cesare||168||Westfield||Indiana||Bellerive Country Club|