Thirteen junior golfers from the Grand Strand are among 24 participants from Tuesday’s 2015-16 Drive Chip & Putt Championship local qualifier at Legends Golf Resort who still have aspirations of competing at Augusta National Golf Club prior to the Masters Tournament next April.
More than 160 juniors ages 6-15 were registered to participate Tuesday, and the top three performers in each of eight age/gender divisions advance to the second of four stages of the competition.
The free golf skills contest is supported by the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and PGA of America as a grow-the-game initiative.
This is the third year of the competition, which consists of three short chip shots to a target, three putts of varying length and three drives.
Participation doubled in the program’s second year, according to organizers, and is expected to again increase significantly this year through 255 open local qualifying locations in all 50 states from May-August. Golfers can enter only once, but can register for any location.
A local qualifier was held at River Hills Golf & Country Club in Little River last summer.
Participants must be between the ages of 7 and 15 on April 3, 2016, when the national finals will be held at Augusta National on the eve of Masters week and broadcast live by Golf Channel.
The top three performers in each division at Legends advance to a Sub-Regional on Aug. 29 at Fort Jackson Golf Club outside Columbia, and the top two finishers in each division there advance to a Regional at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., on Sept. 20.
Regional division winners advance to the finals, which will feature 40 boys and 40 girls.
Girls 7-9: Lily Osborne, Conway, 52 points; Riley Smith, Myrtle Beach, 46; Ellie Hardwick, Rock Hill, 44.
Boys 7-9: Trevor Peck, Glen Mills, Pa., 97 points; Hunter Hedgecoe, Fayetteville, NC, 93; Mason Kucia, Indian Land, 93.
Girls 10-11: Molly Hardwick, Rock Hill, 101 points; Emily Loes, Raeford, N.C., 55; Sophie Leak, Myrtle Beach, 54.
Boys 10-11: Sawyer Osborne, Conway, 96 points; Jackson Kaylor, Pawleys Island, 95; Forrest Eddy, Longs, 91.
Girls 12-13: Emma Schimpf, Daniel Island, 107 points; Chloe Crane, Greensboro, NC, 98; Brianna Hammond, Pawleys Island, 90.
Boys 12-13: Dylan Rogers, Lake View, 135 points; Trace Guyton, Pawleys Island, 125; Jones Brown, Myrtle Beach, 119.
Girls 14-15: Katie Smith, Murrells Inlet, 111 points; Catherine Champagne, Quebec, Canada, 92; Brianna Rau, Myrtle Beach, 49
Boys 14-15: Coleman Bess, Murrells Inlet, 133 points; William Sanders, Camden, 124; Seth Hager, North Myrtle Beach, 123.