Hill second at Washington tourney 

Golfer advances to San Fran with eye on Augusta

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - HILL-CLIMBING Kaitlyn Hill placed second at the subregional Drive, Chip and Putt event in Dupont, Wash. on Aug. 10.
  • Photo submitted
  • HILL-CLIMBING Kaitlyn Hill placed second at the subregional Drive, Chip and Putt event in Dupont, Wash. on Aug. 10.

Kaitlyn Hill has her attention focused on one of the world's foremost golf courses.

Hill placed second in the 14-to-15-year-old division at the subregional Drive, Chip & Putt competition in Dupont, Wash. on Aug. 10, and will tee up at the regional event at San Francisco's Olympic Club next month.

The event, designed for athletes aged seven to 15, breaks down golf into its core elements of driving, chipping and putting as competitors show their skills on driving ranges and putting greens as opposed to snaking their way around a golf course.

"It's really different compared to normal golf competition considering that you only drive, chip and putt," Hill said. "I personally like them better because they show your strengths particularly in those certain positions that you're being put in."

When all was said and done, Hill took second behind Seattle golfer Haley Wong, who put up three similar scores across all categories and earned 141 points. Hill notched 120 points on the strength of her putting — she put up a division-best 65 to easily capture the category.

"I'm pretty good with the weight and aim, so something just clicked with putting that day," she said. "I sank a 30-footer and it was so amazing because that doesn't normally happen. It was just a good day where everything fell in."

In the next few weeks, Hill will focus on the initial category, where she feels she can make the strides necessary to advance to the final round in Augusta, Georgia in the spring.

"I'm going to be working on a lot of driving. I'm normally fine with it, but just in the past competitions, it's been airing off or taking a bad bounce. I need to work on that, so I'm going to be working on that with my coach," she said. "And (I'll be) just practicing because practice makes perfect and I want to have the best shot I can."

The national tournament takes place on hallowed ground in Georgia, crowning champions one week before one of the world's top golfers receives a green jacket.

"If I make it through San Francisco, then it's off to Augusta right before The Masters," Hill said. "That would be a dream come true for me."

This was Hill's second time at the competition, and after a solid showing last year, she decided to return and mount a challenge with her last chance.

"I just saw it on TV a year or two ago and was 'Wow, I want to do that,'" she said. "I did it last year and this year, and I qualified last year for this competition and I came fifth.

"This year, I decided, 'It's my last year, give it all you've got' so I entered this year as well and now I'm here."

Hill said she had a couple of friends alongside her in Washington, but hopes to increase the sport's popularity among her local group of friends.

"I wanted to do the Drive, Chip and Putt and win it to show my friends here that it's a cool sport and it does give you amazing opportunities to succeed," she said.

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