Marine on St. Croix, Minn.
Bella Leonhart, Ryder Carlson and Kathryn VanArragon all won their age division in the Drive, Chip and Putt Regional Qualifier at Whistling Straits to advance to the 2019 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. As is tradition, the finals will be held at Augusta National on Sunday, April 7, one week before the Masters Tournament. The regional qualifier played to host to participants from all over the map including parts of Canada, Illinois, Iowa, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Leonhart, a Marine on St. Croix native who celebrated her 11th birthday two days prior, won the Girls 10-11 division with a score of 137—an impressive 34 points higher than the second-place finisher Elizabeth Stuckslager of Mequon, Wis. She claimed medalist honors in both the Chip and Putt skill and finished third in the Drive portion.
The Boys 10-11 division was more closely contested with Carlson finishing three points ahead of the runner-up Jack Weigus of Willowbrook, Ill. Carlson, an 11-year-old from Minnetonka, like Leonhart, won the Chip skill. He also finished tied for third in the Drive skill and tied for fourth in the Putt section.
VanArragon, no stranger to the big stage having won the 2018 Class AAA State Girls Golf Championship earlier this year as 13-year-old, won the Girls 12-13 division. She will be making her second trip to Augusta National for the finals after qualifying and finishing fifth back in 2016. She won by 19 points scoring a 139 to win over Treva Dodd of Brookfield, Wis. VanArragon tied for first in the Drive skill and Chip skill and finished second in the Putt skill.
Congratulations to all three on advancing to the national finals and fulfilling a lifelong dream!