Augusta National and finals of Drive, Chip & Putt beckons for Hennessee

The idea for having the finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt contest at Augusta National has led to a lot of dreams coming true, including those of young Tulsan Will Hennessee.

Hennessee and his family were scheduled to depart today for Augusta National, where on Sunday the 11-year-old will try to win the finals, scheduled to be broadcast live on The Golf Channel from 7 a.m. to noon, CDT.

Hennessee is the only Oklahoman among the 80 boys and girls to qualify for the 2017 finals. Golf Oklahoma caught up to Will while he was practicing at The Oaks Country Club last week along with brother Andrew, 15, who will be his official chaperone for all the ceremonies this weekend.

Hennessee qualified by making it through all three stages, including the finals held at Southern Hills Country Club in September, where he scored 101 points, including 50 in the putting stage, to edge Wyatt Nickerson by three points.

Will is an earnest and serious student of the game. He takes lessons from Maggie Roller, the newly-named director of instruction at Cedar Ridge Country Club, who teases that Hennessee is “11 going on 35.” Roller will also be going to Augusta National to witness the competition.

“He’s so serious when he answers your questions,” Roller said. “He’ll say, ‘Maggie, my angle of attack is getting just a bit steep and we need to work on that.’ He’s so technical and so analytical. He loves every aspect of it.”

Hennessee said his favorite golfers are Rory McIlroy and Michelle Wie and Augusta National is certainly among his favorite courses, although he prefers The Open Championship as his favorite major.

A gifted putter, his chances in the finals may depend on the length and accuracy of his driving, which Hennessee said he’s been working on over the winter and has his distance up to over 200 yards from the 188 which was the longest of his three drives at Southern Hills.

Regardless of the results, it should be an amazing trip for the family, including father Sean, mother Kara and other extended family saddling up for the trip to Augusta. Attendance at Monday’s practice round for The Masters is included for the family.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source