William “Trip” Sanders and his family made an easy trip from their home in Camden to the Fort Jackson Golf Club on Saturday afternoon.
In about three weeks, the Sanders family will have to travel a little further.
Sanders, an eighth-grader at Camden Middle School, took first place in the 14-15 Boys grouping of the Carolinas PGA Drive, Chip, and Putt Sub-Regional Qualifier.
“It was awesome,” Sanders said. “I hit it good. I hit it flat down the middle of the fairway. My longest drive went 269 yards. I could’ve done better in putting, but I chipped kind of good.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The State
Each player hit three drives, made three chips, made three putts and accumulated points for each shot. For drives, the greater distance earned more points. Chips and putts were scored based on how close to the hole the ball stopped.
Drives more than 300 yards earned a top score of 25. Chips and putts that were holes-in-one earned 25 points.
Sanders scored 69 points on his three drives, 36 on his three chips, and 37 points on his three putts to complete his 142 scoring total. He was one point better than co-qualifier and Zachery Lawter, who came from his home in Inman and finished the afternoon with a 61-30-50 score.
“I think I did okay,” said Lawter, whose best drive of the afternoon was in the 260-270 yard range, good for 21 points. “I was just trying to hit it straight down the grid and trying to get a good distance. Chipping wasn’t my best, but I did pretty good in putting.”
Sanders and Lawton were two of 16 junior golfers to qualify for the PGA Drive, Chip, and Putt Regional Qualifier to be held at Washington, D.C.’s Congressional Country Club on Sept. 20.
“I can’t wait,” Sanders said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
In the girls 14-15 division, Carly Lyvers of Greenville finished with an event-high score of 161. She came up with 51 points for her drives, 40 for chips, and 70 for putts, including two holes-in-one.
“I barely made a 6-foooter and that got the momentum going,” Lyvers said. “Once I made that one, I made a 15-footer and I was so happy, I knew I could do it. All I needed to be was consistent and I think I accomplished that.”
Sophie Guo finished behind Lyvers and will also head to the regional qualifier. Guo’s 145 score came from a 63 on the driving range, 35 for chips and 47 for putts.
The top two finishers in each age group at that event move on to the National Finals at Augusta National in 2016.
Saturday’s event brought 141 placers in 11 local qualifiers from around the Carolinas. Besides the 16 qualifiers, eight third-place finishers were noted and were named as alternates should the top finishers not be able to travel to Washington.
Drive, Chip and Putt Regional Qualifiers
Drive score-Chip score-Putt score-Total score
7-9 Boys: Hugh Falkner 18-50-65 – 133; Daniel Donato 29-16-60 – 105
10-11 Boys: Tyler Jones 45-60-28 – 133; Dallas Johnson 28-40-40 – 108
12-13 Boys: Gene Zeigler 37-55-55 – 147; Payne Gettys 59-55-32 – 146
14-15 Boys: Trip Sanders 69-36-37 – 142; Zachery Lawter 61-30-50 – 141
7-9 Girls: Caleigh Jane Goff 24-26-45 – 95; Alexia Milbrandt 9-50-35 – 94
10-11 Girls: Abby Franks 21-31-45 – 97; Lang Ives 20-26-50 – 96
12-13 Girls: Emma Schimpf 35-26-50 – 111; Grayson Warren 14-40-55 – 109
14-15 Girls: Carly Lyvers 51-40-70 – 161; Sophie Guo 63-35-47 – 145