Kids, Masters champs have a ball at Drive, Chip & Putt

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AUGUSTA, Ga. – Eight former Masters champions and eight 2015 Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals champions all assembled under the iconic oak behind the Augusta National clubhouse on Sunday and it was hard to distinguish who was more excited.

“Being here at Augusta National is a big deal,” said defending Masters champion Bubba Watson. “I would have tried to compete in this when I was young. This is an honor.”

But then he probably didn’t need to tell the eight newly-crowned Drive, Chip & Putt winners, who completed a road that began last May at 255 local qualifying sites throughout the United States.

Morgan Goldstein from Las Vegas stood out from the winners in four different age groups, becoming the first competitor to win all three disciplines for a four-point victory in the Girls 12-13 division.

“When I stepped up to the first tee I was really nervous, but I calmed down,” said Goldstein, who won the driving portion with a 244-yard drive, chipped in and made a 15-foot putt for the victory.



Jay Leng Jr. from Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., who won the Boys 7-9 division, was almost as impressive in his victory, holing a winning putt in a playoff after finishing tied with Peyton Blackard and Logan Medcalf.

“Putting is my strength,” Leng said. “I’m a natural putter.”

Effie Perakis from Glenview, Ill., won the Girls 7-9 trophy; Lydia Swan from North East, Pa., the Girls 10-11 division; and Alexandra Swayne from Maineville, Ohio, won a playoff for the Girls 14-15 division title.

Jack Peacock from Alpharetta, Ga., won the Boys 10-11 division; George Duangmanee from Fairfax, Va., won a playoff for the Boys 12-13 division title; and Toby Wilson from Bartlett, Tenn., took the Boys 14-15 division crown by a half a point.