By Nick Nunn staff writer

Bailey Smith competed at the inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt Championship National Finals last Sunday, April 6, at the Augusta National Golf Club. The competition brought together 88 junior golfers from around the country to Augusta National just before the beginning of Masters Week, which is currently ongoing.

Smith placed ninth out of a field of 11 golfers in his age group with a combined score of 15 in the three events. Smith earned eight points out of a maximum of 11 points for the driving portion of the competition, four points in the chipping contest, and three points in the putting competition.

Bailey’s father, Michael Smith, said that Bailey was disappointed by his performance in the competition. Smith said that Bailey’s being chosen to go first in the age group created a disadvantage in not being able to watch how the other players responded to the intricacies of the course.

“Being chosen by computers to go first was a definite disadvantage,” said Michael Smith. “Nerves took a toll on his performance, no doubt, but it was well worth being part of this once in a lifetime inaugural event. We had 24 people from Madison there!”

Smith said that the experience of being invited to Augusta National was exceptional. “We talked up close and personal with the chairman Billy Payne, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and almost every personality from the Golf Channel,” said Smith. “We also got to arrive on Magnolia Lane and warm up beside professionals on the member’s only range as well as eat in the founder’s club on the grounds.”

Smith wanted to thank the family’s church, the First United Methodist Church, as well as Blake Adams and all of the “dogfighters” at The Creek at Hard Labor. “If this group wouldn’t push him to become the best at everything he does he would just be an average guy,” said Smith. “They push and he pulls.”

Congratulations to Bailey Smith for earning the opportunity to take part in the first year of the Drive, Chip & Putt competition at Augusta National.