SUWANEE, Ga. - It's almost Master's week, but before the pro golfers take the course, the youngest ones get their shot at Augusta National Golf Club.
The Drive, Chip and Putt competition is going into its 5th year and on Sunday, there will be a handful of talented, local golfers hitting the course. It's a nationwide competition, inviting golfers between the ages of 7 and 15 to compete across the country and qualify to play at Augusta National. It's an amazing opportunity for these aspiring golfers, and it's one they are super excited for.
They're the Atlanta area golfers, heading for Augusta to play at the Masters. Meet Patmon Malcom, Sara Im, Sahish Reddy and Thaxton Cheyne.
"The nerves are going to be there...if you don't have nerves something's wrong," says 10-year-old Patmon Malcom from Alpharetta.
"I'm really nervous because there's going to be a lot of TV cameras and stuff there," adds 13-year-old 7th grader Sara Im of Suwanee.
"I'm excited and nervous. It's like a mix of a little bit of both," Sahish Reddy, the 10-year-old from Suwanee says.
"I feel no nervousness right now, I'm just super excited to go," exclaims 9-year-old Thaxton Cheyne, of Canton.
They've done the hard part. These young golfers have won local and regional qualifiers, and have earned a place in the national finals Sunday in Augusta. "It's really hard to get to Augusta. I think I've been trying out for like five years now," Sara says.
For most of them, it will be their first trip to Augusta National. "I've watched it in the past when they drive you down Magnolia Lane, and that's where the pros go, you know, so that's going to be so exciting because I get to experience what the pros do," Patmon exclaims
"It looks really nice. It looks like one of the most beautiful places on earth," adds Thaxton.
The Drive, Chip and Putt is put on by the Masters Tournament, U.S. Golf Association and the PGA. The goal is to get young athletes more excited about golf. "It just really makes kids want to play golf," explains Thaxton. "Most kids are interested in all the other sports and golf doesn't seem to be popular to them, but golf is a great sport. I just think it's amazing that they're getting kids to play golf."
They each have their favorite golfers, but there seems to be two that they'll all be cheering for. "I'm excited to watch Jordan Spieth, because he putts really good, he does everything really good," Sara says.
"I like Tiger Woods. I'm also excited to see Jordan Spieth, but mostly Tiger Woods," adds Sahish.
"My favorite golfer is probably Payne Stewart. I also like Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth," throws out Thaxton.
"I'm excited to see a lot of the pros, but Justin Thomas or Jordan Spieth," agrees Patmon.
They're looking forward to following Jordan and Tiger out on the notoriously fast greens. "I mean not everyone gets to putt on the Masters greens, you know? So that's pretty awesome. It's like a once and lifetime experience," Patmon lights up.
"What do you think it's going to be like?" Katie asks. "Really green. The greens are going to be really fast," responds Sahish.
"I heard from somebody just practice on your wooden floors because they're so fast," laughs Sara.
Don't think this is the last you've heard of Patmon, Thaxton, Sahish and Sara, because it's really only the beginning.
"I'm most looking forward to actually learning about the course so hopefully I can win the Masters one day," Thaxton says confidently.
There's also a 5th local golfer, 14-year-old Loralie Cowart from Winston, Georgia in the competition. The Drive, Chip and Putt competition will be broadcast live all day Sunday April 1st on The Golf Channel.