9-year-old Austin golfer represents Texas in national competition at Augusta National
AUSTIN, Texas - For Allie Stevens, a good day is spent on the green.
"I like that it's outside, and I like there's just you and the course, not always another team," said Allie, 9. "It's just you versus the course."
On Wednesday, it was her versus Hancock Golf Course. But early next month, young Allie will brush shoulders with the pros.
"Tiger Woods has won a lot there, and it's played at the same course every year, at Augusta National, like all the greatest players play there, and it's just really cool," she said.
On the eve of the Masters Tournament, up-and-coming golfers will compete in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National. They’ll also get to observe a practice round at the Masters.
Allie had to make it through three competitions to qualify. She’ll be representing Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas in the upcoming competition, one of ten in her age bracket from around the country.
"I'm very excited," she said. "I'm also a little bit nervous, but mostly excited."
Out of driving, chipping and putting, she said driving is probably her favorite, and chipping is her least favorite.
"Sometimes I just blade it and then sometimes I just hit way under it, and it's kind of a little bit inconsistent," said Allie. "I like driving because it's a perfect feeling when you hit the ball really far, and I got fit for my new driver, and I really like my driver, it’s the only club I got fit for."
Allie’s father, Noah Stevens, has played at the pro level, but he got into golf later in life after some encouragement from his surfer friends.
"‘Hey, the waves are flat, we’re going to go play golf,’ and I'm like, ‘I'm not playing golf,’" he said. "I got into golf then and then kind of got hooked on it."
Allie’s mother also played golf at the collegiate level. However, neither of them pushed Allie into golf.
"During COVID all of her programs were postponed, she played soccer, she did gymnastics, so we just started going to the golf course and enjoying being outside," said Noah. "I do get emotional thinking about where we're going because we didn't try to be great at golf we just enjoyed playing."
And they didn’t foresee where it would go in just a few short years.
"She's taking mom and dad to Augusta," said Noah.
They’re excited to see where it leads but also want to make sure it stays fun and enjoyable.
"It's up to her what she wants to do," said Noah. "This is giving her a bigger taste of what it could be like if she decides to stay with it."
The 2023 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel on Sunday, April 2.