Junior golfers crowned Drive Chip Putt national champions


CELEBRATION, Fla. ' More than 6,500 junior golfers from throughout North America began the year with the goal of becoming Mutual of Omaha Drive, Chip & Putt national champions. Four accomplished that goal Saturday when Robby Eisch (9, Tampa, Fla.); Brad Dalke (11, Burkburnett, Texas); Hannah Kim (12, San Diego, Calif.) and Zach Botts, (13, Jonesborough, Tenn.) captured the national championship titles in their respective age divisions at the event presented by GOLF CHANNEL.
The national championship at Celebration Golf Club featured 67 juniors representing 23 states and Canada. Participants were divided into four age groups (7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14) that competed in three skills events ' driving, chipping and putting ' with the best combined score in each age group named national champions.
Botts victory in the 13-14 age division did not come easy. He and Andrew McCain (Pueblo, Colo.) tied for first place after regulation. The two competed in a putting playoff, where Botts sank a 30-foot putt to capture his first national championship.
I had a lot of confidence on that putt, Botts said. I knew it was going in the hole right after I hit it. It was a lot of fun today.
Eisch, who qualified for the national championships in the 7-8 age division in April, competed in the drive, chip & putt competition for the first time in 2008. Dalke, who made his second appearance at the national championships, played consistent throughout the day en-route to his 9-10 age division victory. Kim defeated the boys in the 11-12 age division, becoming the first female to capture a Drive, Chip & Putt title since 2005, when Orlandos Alessandra Kutz won the 9-10 age division.
All participants qualified to compete in the national championships via finishing in the top-three in their respective age groups at one of 52 local championships, followed by taking first-place at one of 16 regional championships in 2008.
An hour-long national championships highlight show is scheduled to air on GOLF CHANNEL Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. ET.
1. Robby Eisch, 9, Tampa, Fla. (8-years-old during local qualifier)
2. Charlie Reiter, 9, Palm Desert, Calif. (8-years-old during local qualifier)
3. A.J. Beechler, 8, Pinehurst, N.C.
1. Brad Dalke, 11, Burkburnett, Texas (10-years-old during local qualifier)
2. Samuel Kim, 11, Irvine, Calif. (10-years-old during qualifier)
3. Lilia Vu, 10, Fountain Valley, Calif.
1. Hannah Kim, 12, San Diego
2. Isaiah Salinda, 11, San Francisco
3. Grant Rogers, 12, Boulder, Colo.
1. Zach Botts, 13, Jonesborough, Tenn. (Won via playoff)
2. Andrew McCain, 14, Pueblo, Colo.
3. Evan Sommer, 13, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Related Links:
  • Drive, Chip & Putt Home Page