While it wasn’t quite as exiting as winning a green jacket, one area youth golfer got the thrill of a lifetime recently at Augusta National. News 19’s Ron Aiken has the story of one girl’s experience competing for a junior title at the most prestigious golf course in the world.
Elgin’s Parker Stalvey was South Carolina’s lone representative in the finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt youth golf championship in Augusta earlier this month.
That’s quite an accomplishment considering some 20,000 players nationwide vied for just 80 spots across four age groups.
Playing in the girls 12-13 year-old division, Stalvey finished seventh in her group after not making the finals last year. She says experience paid off.
“I think I learned a lot more this year than I did last year,” said Stalvey, 13. “I think my putting and chipping was really good, and my driving was OK.”
Still, there were some surprises once she reached Augusta.
“Like how fast the greens were and how nice it looked and everything and how the course was in so good of a shape,” Stalvey said.
Stalvey got started wanting to tag along with her dad, Ryan.
“My 6th birthday, I wanted to go outside and my dad was going outside to practice so I asked if I could come and he said I could come if I brought my club,” Stalvey said. “So then I just started swinging it. He said it was really good, and we started working on it until we got to here.”
Stalvey’s father says the experience was first class from start to finish.
“Aside from the competition aspect of it, the show they put on was just really, really special for the kids,” Ryan Stalvey said. “They treated them like little professionals.”
And her best golf moment so far? A no-brainer.
“The drive, chip and putt at Augusta.”
Stalvey says up next for her is playing in some youth tournaments this summer and sitting down with her family to decide where she’ll try to play high school golf next fall.