Manteca’s Tyler Griggs felt the butterflies in his stomach and the anxiety in his hands, and he overcame both.
Griggs, 13, became one of 80 qualifiers for the third annual Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals, to be held next April during the week of the Masters at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
The eighth-grader won the Pacific Northwest Regional qualifier in Chambers Bay, Wash., one of 10 regional sites. Griggs overcame modest performances in chipping (31 points out of a possible 75) and putting (42 points) with the best driving performance of any golfer in his classification.
Griggs launched drives of 278, 286 and 273 yards and compiled 140 overall points to win the boys 12-13 division.
80 The number of finalists for the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals
“It was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Griggs said. “My knees were shaking and my hands were sweating.”
His reward will be an expenses-paid trip for him and a parent to Augusta, one of the world’s premier golf addresses, for the competition, which features putting on the famous 18th green.
The event is a joint initiative by the United States Golf Association, the Masters and the PGA of America. It’s a free nationwide youth golf development program open to girls and boys ages 7 to 15. They compete in separate divisions in four age categories and focus on the three fundamental skills employed in golf and tapping the creativity and enthusiasm of young golfers.
Griggs advanced by placing third in local qualifying at Haggin Oaks in Sacramento and won the Sub-Regional at Ripon’s Spring Creek Country Club. Only regional winners advanced to the finals, which will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel on April 3.
It was the most nervous I’ve ever been. My knees were shaking and my hands were sweating
Griggs and fellow champions will represent 30 states and two Canadian provinces. The Mantecan, a regular on the Junior Golf Association of Northern California circuit, won the Veritas International Worlds title last summer in Pasadena.
“It’s going to be nerve-wracking,” he said. “I’ll have to practice a lot and embrace it.”