March 31, 2014

Arlington youth golfer headed to Augusta

Trinity King, 12, will compete in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship on April 6 at Augusta National.

Arlington’s Trinity King was 11 years old when she competed in the local qualifier of the national Drive, Pitch and Putt contest last summer.

By the time she walked away with a 15-point win at the Jim McLean Golf School, her confidence skyrocketed entering the August regional qualifier in Carrollton.

King, by virtue of winning the regional contest over Midland’s Rebecca Reed at Golden Bear Golf Center, will compete Sunday with 10 other competitors in the national Drive, Pitch and Putt Championships at Augusta National Golf Club. The event is scheduled to be televised live on the Golf Channel beginning at 9 a.m.

King, now 12, will compete in the 12-13 girls division. It’s one of four age groups for both boys and girls.

The competition is in its first year and was created by the members of Augusta, along with the PGA of America and the USGA.

“My expectation is to do my best and have fun, but if my best isn’t what gets me there, I’m just happy that I did my best,” King said. “But that means someone else also gave it their best, so I’m not going to be disappointed.”

King, who is coached by her father Daniel, pushed past 17 competitors in the regional qualifier with a score of 113 points, which pits competition built around three drives, three chips and three putts.

The drives are boxed in a 30-yard wide area and are measured ultimately on distance. All three chips are from 15 yards and the putts are are from 30, 15 and 6 feet.

What will be different in the national competition, though, is how the scores are determined.

Whereas points were awarded in the local and regional qualifiers, true distance from the hole on chips and putts will be the determining factor at Augusta.

That doesn’t seem to bother King, who’s been playing golf since the age of six.

“In the regional, I was initially behind by about 26 points going into the driving competition, and the girl leading hit two balls out of the grid and that gave me an open door,” she said. “She just left me a chance and I hit one out of the grid, but then hit two really good drives. I actually went to go watch some of my friends and then all of the sudden my dad said they were passing out the awards.

“I walked over and saw I was in first and I was very surprised. When we got in the car we went crazy. I’m a little nervous about my driving because I don’t have a lot of distance, but I can make up for it with chipping and putting.”

Southlake’s Emma Costa also qualified in the 10-11 girls division and Agnes Chu of Plano won the 14-15 division.

On the boys side, Kyle Cox of Carrollton will compete in the boys 12-13 division and Andrew Petruzelli of Dallas won the 7-9 division to advance.

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