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JUNIORS TO TAKE CENTER STAGE AT DOWNS GOLF DRIVE CHIP & PUTT EVENT

When Adam Scott sank a 12-foot birdie putt in a sudden-death playoff to win the 2013 Masters, it marked the realization of a boyhood dream for the popular Australian golfer.
On Saturday, July 6 at The Downs Golf Practice Facility adjacent to Tampa Bay Downs, 102 boys and girls from ages 7-15 will chase dreams of their own in a local qualifying event of the inaugural Drive Chip & Putt Championship.
Their goal: becoming one of 44 boys or 44 girls from around the country to advance to the national finals at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia on April 6, the Sunday before the 2014 Masters.
The Drive Chip & Putt Championship is a joint initiative among the Masters Tournament Foundation, the U.S. Golf Association and The PGA of America, designed to promote interest and participation in golf at the grassroots level. The Championship finals will be broadcast by Golf Channel.
Beginning at 8 a.m. on July 6, competition will be held for both boys and girls in four age divisions: 7-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15. Players will accumulate points in each of the three categories, with the top two overall point earners in each division advancing to regional qualifying on Aug. 17 at Reunion Resort/Club of Orlando, where they will then attempt to advance to Augusta National next spring.
Spectators are welcome to attend the local qualifying event free of charge. Food and beverages will be available. The Downs Golf Practice Facility will be closed for normal activity that day until 1:30 p.m. It is one of 110 Drive Chip & Putt Championship sites throughout the country being used for local qualifying.
Golfers will compete in threesomes, starting with the driving portion of the event, followed by chipping and then putting. Each competitor will attempt three drives, three chip shots and three putts. The competition and scoring will be conducted by the North Florida PGA Section and The Downs Golf Practice Facility Manager Jon Johnson and his staff.
“We are excited to be part of this nationwide event to involve youngsters in the lifetime sport of golf,” said Johnson, a former assistant professional at Augusta National. “We have received registrations from throughout Florida and as far away as Mississippi, and we hope to produce a number of golfers who will get the chance to drive and chip on Augusta National’s practice facility and putt on the 18th green.”

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