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Portland seventh grader Kate Ly will compete Sunday in Drive, Chip & Putt national championship.

COURTESY PHOTO: LY FAMILY - Kate Ly, a Portland seventh grader, will compete this week in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship national finals prior to the Masters at Augusts, Georgia. At age 12, Kate Ly has a pretty good idea what she wants to become.

On Sunday, April 4, the Hosford Middle School seventh grader will get a good glimpse of what her dream future might be like when she competes at Augusta National in Georgia, site of the Masters Tournament.

Ly is one of 80 golfers ages 7 to 15 who, in the fall of 2019, qualified for the finals of the Drive, Chip & Putt Nationals.

The 2020 contest was canceled because of the pandemic, but Kate and the other 2019 qualifiers finally will get to compete at the storied course. The Golf Channel will televise the Drive, Chip & Putt Nationals live between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. PT Sunday, with replays on following days.

"I'm excited about competing, and I'm excited about watching the Masters practice round," Kate said.

Kate is one of 10 finalists among girls in the age 10-11 division. She qualified to represent the Northwest region by advancing through three stages of competition: a local event at OGA Golf Course in Woodburn, a subregional qualifier at Meriwether National Golf Club in Hillsboro and the regional at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington. Only regional champions advance to the national finals.

The contest, staged since 2013, is a joint project of the Masters, the U.S. Golf Association and the PGA of America.

Each contestant takes three drives, three chips and three putts. The drives earn points for distance within a 40-foot-wide fairway. The three chips and three putts are awarded points based on how close they come to the hole.

Kate said putting is the skill she is most confident about, while chipping is the skill where she is less consistent.

"I feel like I have the most control (of putts)," she said.

Golf is an activity enjoyed by the entire Southeast Portland family, including Kate's father, Quyen Ly, and mother, Qiong "Tracy" Qiu. Kate began playing at age 9, following her older sister, Kyra, into the sport.

Kate has competed in Oregon Junior Golf and U.S. Kids Golf tournaments and said her favorite part of golfing is "playing with friends and shooting some pretty low scores," including a 73 at Emerald Valley Golf Course in Eugene.

Kate's coach is Meurig Morgan, who operates Dragon Golf Instruction at Lake Oswego Golf Course.

Away from golf, Kate said her favorite school subject is science and she enjoys reading.

Her favorite golfer is Tiger Woods and his 2019 Masters victory is Kate's favorite moment watching golf. She admires the consistency of Jin Young Ko on the LPGA Tour.

Kate also looks up to her sister.

Kyra Ly, a junior at Cleveland High School, won the Oregon Junior Golf Player of the Year award for both 2019 and 2020. Kyra recently tied for 27th at the Annika Invitational, an American Junior Golf Association tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.

Now comes Kate's chance to experience a big-time golf event.

"I'm excited and nervous at the same time," Kate said.


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