AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – “I’ve been trying since I was 6,” said finalist Hamilton Coleman. “So that’s probably about 8 years, yeah.”

All the driving, chipping and putting have paid off for three kids from Augusta who get to compete in their hometown in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday.

“I think it’s really exciting and it’s a once in a lifetime chance that you have to compete with other people from across the United States,” said finalist Zane Madison. “And to know them and be friends with them.”

“This is my first time making it past the second round and I just felt, I think I’ve gotten really better in every skill,” said finalist Hamilton Coleman.

“It took a lot of practice, definitely,” said Lyla Hawker, a fourth-grader who is the first participant in First Tee of Augusta history to make it to Augusta National. “Going out in the mornings and in the afternoons to practice.”

Lyla says she didn’t even know about Drive, Chip and Putt until she saw it on TV last year. 

“I would hope to come home with one of the top 3 trophies.  But if not, I’m fine,” she said.

She says she will be fine because she has such a strong support system. 

“It definitely helps to see family members out there with me.  And when I have a bad shot they also help me put it behind me,” Hawker said.

Even though she’s only nine years-old, Lyla says the game has already given her so much.

“I’ve gotten to go to many amazing golf courses, do a million amazing things,” she said.

And now, the most amazing golf gift of all: The chance to compete at Augusta National Golf Club, and the chance to inspire the next generation of golfers watching around the world.

“They see that they can do it, that they are capable,” said Lashunda Hall with the First Tee of Augusta. “And there’s a path and the door’s open and the possibilities are endless.”

“You definitely have to persevere in the game of golf,” Hawker said. “It’s a challenging sport.  But you can, you can do it.”

Registration is open now for the Drive, Chip and Putt in 2023. For more information, click here.