SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Two Sioux Falls kids will be at the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia next spring, not to just watch, but to compete.
After weeks of rigorous competitions, they both qualified last month for the Drive, Chip and Putt national finals in April.
KELOLAND News caught up with the two young golfers and what we found out was despite their ages… their golf games are better than par.
“For the boys 7 to 9 age division”……
8-year-old Lincoln Trasamar of Sioux Falls appeared last month on the Golf Channel.
“It all came down to these putts, that was Lincoln…”
…..when he defeated his competition in the Drive, Chip and Putt contest in a playoff hole in Colorado at the regional finals where he took first place.
The win qualifies him to compete now in Augusta, Georgia before the Masters. Obviously, he’s excited.
“Because I get to play against the toughest and best players in the world,” Lincoln said.
His dad says Lincoln has been golfing for almost his entire young life.
“Lincoln has been playing golf since he was old enough to walk,” Ryan Trasamar said.
Here’s how the tournament works.
During the competition, the young golfers get to hit three drives…three chips…and three putts, no do-overs.
It’s based on a scoring system and the person with the most points wins.
“It’s fun and I like putting and chipping,” Lincoln said.
And Lincoln is pretty good at them.
The longest putt he’s ever made, he says, is close to 60 feet.
When it comes to chipping, you have to have a strategy.
“If it’s downhill I normally land it right on the edge of the green, if it’s uphill I’ll land it closer to the hole,” Lincoln said.
As you can see, Lincoln is sort of a natural with his swing.
“He just has a knack for it, a touch and a feel for it you just can’t really teach,” Ryan said.
The other Sioux Falls golfer to qualify for the Drive, Chip and Putt national competition is 9-year-old Lauren Wolthuizen.
Lauren also won at the regional finals in Colorado.
“At driving you do three drives, and same with chipping you do three chips and with putting you also do three-putts, but the first putt is short, the second one is medium and the last one is the longest one,” Lauren said.
Lauren made two of her three putts and when tabulated with her drives and chips, she claimed first place.
“I knew she had it in her, she just had to go do her thing and see how everybody else did,” Jason said.
Her dad says Lauren just seems to have what it takes to be a good golfer.
“You don’t have to do a lot she has the natural swing and the natural ability she listens really well, so if you do have to give her pointers she’s always good at following the instructions,” Jason said.
Obviously, her family is very proud of her, including her older brother Wyatt who just missed qualifying for the regional finals and a chance to play Augusta too.
“I’m jealous because I wish I could go there and play and putt on some of those greens and have the professional golfers watching me; then I’m proud of her because it’s something she’ll might not ever do again and she gets to do it,” Wyatt said.
Mom says she’s pretty much hands-off and just lets Lauren do her thing.
“I just go and watch, I don’t golf at all so I don’t give pointers,” Sara said.
Lauren and Lincoln are just two of 80 players from across the country who will compete in the tournament; they’re the first ever from South Dakota.
“I’m not sure she understands how big of a deal it is,” Sara said.
Lincoln’s dad has always wanted to go watch the Masters, now he gets to.
“I just kind of thought it would have to be the right time and the right way to go, I really didn’t think it would be this way, but this is about as good as it’ll get, your son takes you to Augusta, exactly,” Ryan said.
But will they feel the pressure? Nope, not according to Lincoln’s dad, who watched his son handle the pressure in Colorado.
“It was fairly nerve-wracking to think that he tied and they had to go to a playoff, we got free golf out of it, it added a little bit more stress than what we anticipated, but it was good,” Ryan said.
“Absolutely not, honestly she didn’t feel any pressure out in Colorado either; she was more nervous about the interviews and things afterwards than she was the competition, she’s very good at handling pressure,” Jason said.
That’s why winning, lately, for these two young golfers has been par for the course.
Lauren and Lincoln will compete on Sunday April 3rd and then stay in Augusta and watch the early practice rounds for the Masters and get a chance to meet some of their favorite professional golfers.