Every golfer dreams of playing the Augusta National Golf Club, but some people’s dreams come true faster than others’. If she keeps up like she’s going, Sylacauga’s Madelyn Friday could play the revered course at age 12.
“They put a golf club in my hand when I was 3, and I started taking it more seriously a year or so ago,” said Madelyn, now 11 and ready to head to school Monday at Nichols-Lawson Middle School.
She qualified at the local level in the national Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Capitol Hill Golf Course in Prattville on July 27. She now goes to the sub-regional competition at Reunion Golf and Country Club in Madison, Mississippi, on Aug. 16.
Top scorers there will move on to regionals, and the top scorers from there will compete at Augusta National on Sunday, April 15, before the Masters begins.
The competition, for boys and girls ages 7-15, is sponsored by the Masters Tournament Foundation, the United States Golf Association and the PGA of America.
“Generations of players have been inspired by the dream of sinking a winning putt on the 18th green at Augusta National,” said Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament Foundation, in announcing creation of the competition last year. “Now an exciting opportunity exists to make that dream a reality. I am confident that our collective efforts with the USGA and The PGA of America will showcase the talents of kids who already play this game and motivate others to give the sport a try.”
Glen Nager, president of the USGA, said, “Among our many responsibilities as a governing body is finding creative ways to make the game more accessible to our nation’s young people. The Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is an exciting new opportunity to fulfill this role, and together with our partners at the Masters Tournament Foundation and The PGA of America, we look forward to leading its long-term success,” he said last year.
“The game of golf is built on several fundamental skills, which our 27,000 PGA Professionals around the country teach players of all ages every day,” said Ted Bishop, president of The PGA of America. “The ability to successfully drive, chip and putt a golf ball are some of the basics to the enjoyment of the sport, and we believe this competition will motivate young players to work hard, practice these principle skills and learn to make golf a game of a lifetime.”
Madelyn, the daughter of Brooks and Candice Friday, competes in the division for girls ages 12 and 13 because she has a birthday before the finals next spring.
She explained that in the competition, young golfers earn points for three drives, three chips and three putts. She took first place in chipping, second place in driving and third place overall to become a local qualifier. She had one drive that was 150 yards, and she earned 20 points each for a couple of chips that were within 2 feet of the hole.
Madelyn said her dad, who played golf for the University of Alabama, coaches her, and she plays at Sylacauga Country Club for a couple hours every other day or so. Her little sister, Camilla, also plays.
Her mom said Madelyn has also been leading the competition in tournaments sponsored by the Ladies Birmingham Golf Association at Trussville, Woodward and Mountain Brook Country Club.
Madelyn loves the runway as much as the fairway.
“I’m really into fashion design. I would like to be a professional shopper, but I still want to play golf for fun,” she said.
She plans to play golf for her school, but she hopes to be a majorette in college.
Madelyn also loves to play piano, and is studying classical piano from Kathy Taylor.
Contact Bill Kimber at email@example.com.