Quinn Thomas just took a page out of Jason Day’s playbook.
Day, whose best finish at Augusta National Golf Club in the Masters Tournament was T2 in 2011, is always seen going through his routine before every shot. Thomas, who named Day as one of his favorite players, tries to imitate the 28-year-old with a pre-shot routine of his own.
“I really worked on it this year,” Thomas, of Hannibal, Mo., said. “It helped me out a lot today.”
With his routine down pat and a new focus, Thomas will represent the Boys 10-11 division at the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals next April out of the Midwest Regional, which took place at Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Thomas, who accumulated 120 points on the day, won the chipping portion of the competition after making his second attempt and almost holing his third attempt, too.
“That’s not even my favorite part – well today it was, but I normally like driving the ball,” Thomas added.
Thomas and his family are very excited to get to Augusta, as it will be their first time there after Quinn tried to qualify two times prior.
For Joe Thomas, Quinn’s father, the DCP Regional will teach life lessons for many years to come.
“With the Drive Chip and Putt, the emphasis isn’t driving here or chipping or whatever, you have to piece together everything, just like you would in a round of golf, and that would help anyone focus on their weak spots,” Joe said. “And looking down the road, maybe in 20 years, when he’s at his job, and you get assigned a project, you can pour your emotions and dedication into it, just like he did here today. I think this helps the character of these kids now.”
From the Girls 10-11 Division, Chelsea She won with 95 points by winning the driving and putting portion of the event, and will also be making her first trip to Augusta.
Max Vandermolen, of Richland, Mich., fell a single point short of last year’s DCP Finals in the regional final at Medinah Country Club, but this year got redemption by winning the Boys 7-9 Division and will join 80 finalists across four age groups in boys and girls divisions.
“I practiced even harder this year, so I could win this year,” said Vandermolen, age 8, who tallied 130 points. “I think I practiced a lot more than I did last year so I could go to Augusta.”
Lisa Copeland, of Naperville, Ill., won the Girls 7-9 Division by gathering a total of 84 points – 18 more than her closest competitor.
“I can hit it far on my drive,” said Copeland, who won the driving and chipping portion of the regional for her age group.
Added her father, Jeff: “This is pretty exciting. Even though she’s only 8, she works really hard at it. And today, she put together the shots she needed to, to advance to Augusta.”
Indiana natives Chloe Johnson, of Evansville, and Connor McNeely, of Noblesville, swept the 12-13 division for the girls and boys, respectively. Johnson accumulated 125 points, while McNeely gathered 115.
Andrew Scholz knew how to end the day on a high note. Scholz, of Mission, Kan., was the last player to tee off at the regional. He holed two of his first three putts (from 6 and 15 feet) to seal his first ticket to Augusta by winning the Boys 14-15 division.
“I hit my first drive out of bounds, so I knew I had to go out and win the chipping and putting,” Scholz said.
Scholz, who is 15, plays golf cross-handed (left hand low) with every club in his bag.
Curtis Scholz, Andrew’s father, said, “I don’t play that way, and I don’t know anyone else who plays that way, but he’s always done it that way. Ever since we put a plastic golf club in his hand at age 2, he’s swung like that. … It’s just the way he’s done it since day 1 and it’s working out for him.”
Momo Kikuchi won the Girls 14-15 division with 129 points, while earning 55 points on the putting portion of the competition.
“I’m very excited to just enter the gates at Augusta,” Kikuchi said. “I always knew I could win this, so to do it is enjoyable.”