Also representing South Florida in the April 5 finals:Girls 7-9, Reese McMillan, JupiterGirls 12-13, Morgan Rodriguez, Delray Beach
Drive, Chip and Putt is a joint initiative founded in 2013 by the Masters Tournament, the United States Golf Association and the PGA of America. The competitions a free, nationwide junior golf development competition aimed at growing the game by focusing on the three fundamental swing skills employed in golf.
Every year, thousands of children between the ages of 7 and 15 compete through a series of local, sub-regional and regional qualifying until only 80 finalists remain.
One of those finalists this year is 14-year-old Elijah Zamarron from Sunrise.
This marked the third year that Zamarron entered the competition, and it is the first time he reached the finals. The eighth-grader dominated the field for a 39-point margin of victory in the Boys 14-15 Division regional qualifier.
He credits his success to practice.
“I practiced every day, and I practiced until dark, but it was worth it,” Zamarron said.
Just how good has Zamarron’s game gotten? Although he is in middle school, he competes for the Sagemont High School golf team and routinely cards rounds in the upper 70s.
Zamarron started playing seriously at the age of 8. His father, Jeremy, had introduced him to the game very early – there are videos of him swinging a club and hitting balls when he was only 2.
When he was 7, Zamarron went with his father to the course on a day they happened to be holding a golf camp. He felt it would be fun, but was told that he needed to be able to play nine holes. He informed them that it would not be a problem as he had already been playing 18 holes when out with his father.
“He wants to be out there all day, every day,” said his mother, Nichole.
To get to the finals – being held the weekend before the 2020 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. – Zamarron won his local qualifier, finished second in the sub-regional and won the regional qualifier held at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra.
Zamarron is looking forward to competing at Augusta.
“The best part of my game is my driving,” he said. “Putting is probably my worst.”
The rest of the boys in his division might be hoping he doesn’t practice his putting too much over the next six months.
In addition to competing, he is looking forward to watching the pros and seeing the course.
“My favorite player is Brooks Koepka,” said Zamarron, whose favorite course is Osprey Point in Boca Raton. “I can’t wait to meet some of the pros and watch them play. My goal is to someday be a professional golfer on tour.”
For right now he will settle for playing well at the finals.