They arrived early Sunday morning at Augusta National, making the storied drive down Magnolia Lane.
A leader board at the Tournament Practice Facility posts the names of these 88 national finalists taking the stage for the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.
Television cameras, too, are focused on these junior golfers from across America and Canada who won local and regional qualifying events to earn a chance to compete at the home of the Masters. Five hours of exclusive Golf Channel coverage is underway.
After a Morning Drive pre-event show from the Golf Channel’s set on the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club, the live broadcast of the competition will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Coverage also will be shown throughout on Golf Central and at GolfChannel.com.
Boys and girls in four age groups will test their driving and chipping skills at the Tournament Practice Facility before moving to the 18th green for a putting championship on the same stage where Masters champions are made.
First, players will have two swings to record a longest drive, provided it is in bounds. Next, they will move to the short-game area and try to post the lowest combined distance from the hole on two chips.
In the putting competition, the participants will be challenged by some of the famous putts faced by Masters contestants over the years at the 18th green. The youngsters will attempt putts from 6, 20 and 30 feet, trying again to record the lowest combined distance from the cup.
Winners will be decided in each of the skills challenges, and players compile points along the way to determine boys and girls overall champions in age groups 7-9, 10-11, 12-13 and 14-15.
The 88 junior golfers in the field come from 27 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada. Texas has the most players with 13, followed by California and Florida with eight apiece.
All will be looking to earn a place on the leader board and etch their names as the first Drive, Chip and Putt champions at Augusta National.
Registration for 2015 also begins on Sunday. Next year, there will be nearly triple the number of local qualifying spots, expanding the number of entrants to 50,000 at 250 host sites around the country. The 2015 National Finals will once again be held on the grand stage of Augusta National.