For the second year in a row, a member of the Chien family will be headed to the mecca of golf for the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship. Following in his sister Leigh’s footsteps, Evan will be striding around Augusta National this April after qualifying for the finals last month.
With the regional qualifier being held at Riviera CC in Pacific Palisades, Evan was content with soaking in the atmosphere of such a prestigious Southern California landmark, hoping to just give it his best shot.
“I was just playing for fun,” said Evan. “If I didn’t make it, wouldn’t have been a big deal. But by the end of the day [when I learned that I had qualified] I couldn’t smile anymore because my face was aching!”
The 13 year old from Irvine dominated the regional competition, scoring a total of 147 points in a format where participants are scored individually on driving, chipping and putting. The next best score was 133.
“At the competition, my driver saved me,” said Evan. “If I’m playing well my putter is hot, but the driver was a surprise. I can always chip because when I was younger I never reached the green so I had a lot of practice with the short game.”
Sending two children to Augusta National will surely invoke some feelings of pride.
“It’s very humbling,” said Evan’s father Wayne. “Both Evan and Leigh practiced a lot and gave it their best shot. It’s anybody’s game and I’m glad they were able to come out on top.”
Most of that practice is on SCGA Junior Golf Pass facility land. The Chien’s have been frequent users of the Golf Pass for more than five years now.
“It’s the best program out there for juniors,” said Wayne of the Golf Pass, which allows SCGA Junior members to play more htan 150 SoCal facilities for just $1-$5. “It makes things much more affordable. The courses are high in quality and youth friendly. We love it.”
Evan won’t be the only SCGA Junior member at Augusta. Both Lucy Yuan of San Diego and Nalani Sam of Anaheim Hills also qualified in the girls division. And joining them on the road this spring will be someone who could provide some valuable advice and insight on what to expect.
“My sister [Leigh] has been giving me a hard time because she brought me last year,” said Evan. “So, I invited her because I guess I have to pay her back!”
It’s only fair.