Briel Royce, a nine-year-old Lake Nona golf superstar, is headed to compete at the Drive, Chip and Putt at the Augusta National Golf Club the Sunday before the Masters Tournament on April 7. This nationwide junior golf development competition is a free event with the objective of growing the game by focusing on the three fundamental skills employed in golf: driving, chipping and putting. This joint initiative began in 2013 with the collaborative efforts of the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and The PGA of America.
Royce beat out roughly 5,000 girls in her 7-9 age division throughout five states to earn her spot in Augusta. She will be competing against nine other girls in her age group at the tournament in April. Briel is the only girl in the 7-9 age division representing Florida.
“A 14-year-old girl congratulated me at the Regional Qualifier and said she’s been trying to qualify every year since she was nine,” said Heather Royce, Briel’s mother. “So, to only have started golfing a year ago and to make it to the big stage is an amazing accomplishment.”
Royce began golfing in January 2017 and has fallen in love with the sport since she first started competing. Since then, she has been working hard to refine her skills and compete across the state and U.S. When she’s older, Royce hopes to work with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA), which is an American organization for female professional golfers.
In the Drive, Chip and Putt in Augusta, Royce will compete against 80 junior golfers representing 27 U.S. states and four Canadian provinces. Since Royce qualified for the event, she will automatically receive a Drive, Chip and Putt logo golf shirt and matching cap along with a bag tag, as well as Monday practice round tickets for their immediate family at the 2019 Masters Tournament. She will also be personally meeting with Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters Champion, along with other PGA and LPGA Pros at the champions dinner the night before. If Royce wins the event, she will receive trophies for individual skills and overall champion.
As for advice Royce would give to other young golfers out there, she suggests all golfers between the age of 7-15 try out the Drive, Chip and Putt event, even if you haven’t picked up a club yet. It’s a fun, free event for all to try.
Look out for Royce at the Augusta National Golf Club the Sunday before the Masters Tournament on April 7.