CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Nine-year-old Preston Tolnar, from Canfield, has qualified for the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National.
The tournament is held right before the Masters Tournament. Preston said he worked hard in qualifiers to get to this point.
“I was just trying to do my thing,” he said. “If I got nervous, I would probably not do my best.”
In his qualifiers for the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship, he won first place with 120 points.
Preston said golf is in his genes.
“My dad taught me to chip first, then hit balls and then putt,” he said.
Preston’s father, Brian Tolnar, said he started teaching his son when he was six years old.
“I kind of look away and I can tell by the sound where it’s going to go,” Brian said.
Preston said he lives to be on the golf course.
“You can get lucky and maybe hole one out and then people yell,” Preston said.
Eighty kids will be competing at Augusta National Golf Course right before The Masters Tournament in early April 2024. Preston will be competing in the 7-9 year old age group division.
Brian said there is no other feeling than pride in watching his son.
“Heart kind of stops a little bit and then knowing that your son is going to putt on the same green that the champion will walk off of the following Sunday is spectacular,” Brian said.
Preston said he is confident in his skills for the tournament, but there is one person who might highlight the experience.
“I want to meet Phil Mickelson because he has the best short game and he’s a three times Masters champion,” Preston said. “I’m going to say he better win it again this year.”
The Drive, Chip & Putt Championship will be held on April 7, 2024.