Virginia Golfer May / June 2015 - Page 4

The Takeaway Virginia Juniors Bring Home Medals and Memories from Drive, Chip & Putt at Augusta National 2 V I R G I N I A G O L F E R | M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 5 02_Takeaway.indd 2 over at the golf course and said, ‘Mommy, I want to do that.’ He fell in love with golf on his own.” By age 4, George had swapped the tennis courts for the practice tee at International Country Club. He now holds a Handicap Index of 4.3 with a career-best score of 2-under-par 70. At the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship, Duangmanee’s grandfather, Johnny Chotikul, served as his caddie while the teenager’s parents and siblings watched in the massive gallery. Chotikul closed his eyes as his grandson made the putt to win before a celebration ensued. “This gives me a lot of confidence to play in front of people and under pressure,” says the champion. “Because of this event, now I know I’m one of the best.” Everett Whiten Jr. of Chesapeake tied for second in the boys’ 14-15 age group. A ninth grader at Great Bridge High School, he finished one-half point behind the winner and earned a share of second. While Whiten has played AAU baseball and basketball, he has only played golf for two years. At age 14, Whitten’s career-best score is a 69 at his home course, Cahoon Plantation in Chesapeake. Even though this was his first appearance at the Drive, Chip & Putt, the teenager says he was not nervous. “The whole experience was great and this was a dream come true,” says Whiten, who hopes to play college golf. “It was amazing to be putting on the 18th green at Augusta National and warm up next to Fred Couples.” Victoria Matthews of Great Falls, tied for fifth in the girls’ 7-9 age division. At age 9, she has already won 11 U.S. Kids’ Golf T our trophies after four years of competitive golf. Her best nine-hole score is 36 and she won the girls’ 7-9 driving category of this year’s Drive, Chip & Putt with a tee shot of 192 yards. Matthews has also posted top-five finishes in such national and regional events as the Doral-Publix Junior Classic, the Holiday Classic at PGA National Resort and has qualified for the U.S. Kids Golf World Championships in Pinehurst, N.C., the last four years. A fourth grader at the Nysmith School for the Gifted in Herndon, Matthews also plays Northern Virginian George Duangmanee took home the title in the boys’ 12-13 age division at the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship, prevailing in a playoff. competitive tennis. She is ranked No. 13 in the United States Tennis Association’s MidAtlantic 10-and-under division. Matthews finished second in the regional qualifier for last year’s Drive, Chip & Putt and advanced through the regional last fall to earn a spot in the 2015 championship. “The entir