Trio of Michigan Golfers Compete at Augusta National in Drive, Chip and Putt Finals

Written by: Greg Johnson

Photo Credit: Drive Chip and Putt/Augusta National

Three Michigan golfers and Golf Association of Michigan members competed in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., Sunday

The annual Grow the Game the game initiative created by a partnership of the PGA of America, the USGA and Augusta National was televised nationally.

Robbie Melendez of Ann Arbor, Lyla Hampton of Grosse Pointe Park and Paige Radebach of Webberville started their road to the national finals in local events. The Michigan Section PGA conducts local, sub-regional and regional final events.

A fourth golfer who competed in Michigan and then at the Great Lakes Regional finals in Ohio, Ava Gilbart of Toronto, also competed Sunday at Augusta.

Melendez tied for fourth place, Hampton tied for sixth place and Radebach was 10th in her age group in Sunday’s national finals. Gilbart finished fourth overall in the Girls’ 10-11 age group finals.

Melendez had nine points after having the second-best score in the driving discipline. He ended up tied for fourth place in the Boys’ 10-11 age group. He made the 15-foot putt on national television, but that was after a 30-foot putt rolled well past the cup and he dropped on the leaderboard

The fifth-grader won a regional for the first time to make it to Augusta National. He has been competing in Drive, Chip and Putt since age eight. He finished first in chipping in the Great Lakes Regional to key his win and earn his ticket to the national finals.

Melendez is 11 and the brother of Mia Melendez, the GAM Junior Girls’ 15-and-under Player of the Year in 2021, and Amaya, another standout golfer. His family has membership at Polo Fields Golf & Country Club. The left-hander started playing at age two, inspired by watching his sisters compete. He hopes to one day be a scientist or professional athlete.

Hampton’s tie for sixth place in the Girls’ 14-15 age group finals was highlighted by seven points in driving, her top score of the three disciplines. She struggled in the chipping discipline earning just two points.

She got into the regional as an alternate in local qualifying and won with a chip-in and two made putts. She is 14 and a freshman golfer at Grosse Pointe South. Her family has membership at Detroit Golf Club and Lochmoor Club. She said she wants to be a professional golfer or an FBI profiler.

Radebach, who made it to Augusta National for the second time, finished 10th this year in the 12-13 age group after finishing fourth in the 2019 Girls’ 7-9 national finals.

The 13-year-old plays golf at Oak Lane Golf Course in Webberville and is coached on her golf swing by Michigan State University men’s golf coach Casey Lubahn. She hopes to play college golf one day and become a financial advisor. She got interested in the game through her local First Tee program in the Lansing area and is a Youth on Course Michigan member.

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