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Grovetown golfer advances in competition

Posted: July 18, 2015 - 11:02pm
Kaylee Stickney, 12, of Grovetown, qualified for the Drive, Chip and Putt subregion competition.  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
Kaylee Stickney, 12, of Grovetown, qualified for the Drive, Chip and Putt subregion competition.

Kaylee Stickney stuck out her left hand following the Drive, Chip and Putt local qualifier on July 10.

She was still shaking.

In her third year in the competition, the 12-year-old Grovetown golfer finally broke through. Stickney placed second in the 12-13 afternoon age division at The First Tee of Augusta. With her finish, Stickney qualified for the subregional, Aug. 1, at The Landings in Savannah, Ga.

“I finally did it,” said Stickney, still shaking after the ribbon ceremony.

Stickney, who has been playing golf for four years, was one of about 400 children competing in two local Drive, Chip and Putt qualifiers (morning and afternoon) at The First Tee. The top three finishers in each division advanced to the subregional.

The top two players per division at The Landings will move on to the regional tournament, Sept. 12, at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The age division regional champions qualify for the ultimate goal – the Drive, Chip and Putt finals that will be held Sunday, April 3, at Augusta National Golf Club.

In the local qualifier, competitors received points in the three different portions – driving, putting and chipping. Each participant took three drives, three putts and three chips, with a maximum total of 225 points. The top three players in each division (48 for the day) moved on to the subregional.

Competitors took different routes to posting qualifying scores. Take Stickney, for example. She got off to a slow start with just 10 points (one qualifying shot) in the drive portion.

She rebounded to win the chip (31 points) and the putt (45).

Stickney, who regularly plays at The First Tee and at Bartram Trail, used the year between competitions to her advantage.

“I guess I got better and practiced,” she said.

Stickney saw what the Drive, Chip and Putt finals competition was like last year when she attended the event at Augusta National – inspiration, she said, for her play this year.

“It was cool to see kids my age up there,” Stickney said. “Even if they weren’t playing well, they seemed super excited to be there.”

While she knows she’ll be facing stiffer competition in Savannah, Stickney has confidence in herself.

“I think with a lot more practice I’ll be able to make it to the next round and if not I’ll be somewhat disappointed but I’ll be happy that I got past the first round,” she said.

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