Golf

Fort Worth youth heading to national golf event at Augusta National

Kate Bennett will participate in the National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National on April 3.
Kate Bennett will participate in the National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National on April 3. Drive, Chip & Putt Championship

Fort Worth’s Kate Bennett is more nervous about maybe meeting Condoleezza Rice than the world’s No. 1 golfer, Dustin Johnson.

But she’ll get the chance to perhaps meet both at Augusta National Golf Club after qualifying for the National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. Approximately 80 junior golfers will be competing at Augusta National on April 3. The Golf Channel will broadcast the event live.

Bennett, a Colonial member and 11-year-old fifth-grader, survived three rounds of qualifying and scored an 83 in the final stage at Southern Hills in Edmond, Okla., to earn the coveted berth.

“I think I’ll be a little more nervous if I get to meet Dr. Rice because I have a few schools I’d like to play golf at, but it’s a dream of mine to play at Stanford,” Bennett said.

Rice, former secretary of state and national security adviser to President George W. Bush, is now a political science professor at Stanford. She’s also an Augusta National member.

The nerves Bennett said she’ll probably feel are something she’s worked hard on to overcome.

A near-disaster in the first qualifier almost pushed her dreams of competing at Augusta back an additional year.

“I hit all three of my tee shots out of bounds so I got no points,” Bennett said. “But I calmed down and hit some great chips and made some putts to finish second.”

The rally was good enough at Sherrill Park Golf Course in Richardson to move her to the regional round at Watters Creek in Plano, where she finished first.

That left just Southern Hills to negotiate for a trip to Augusta, four days before The Masters tournament.

“I’ve heard it’s a beautiful place and once I get there, they say I’ll always work really hard to try and come back,” Bennett said. “But I feel really good about my game and I’ve been working really hard.”

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