Fort Fairfield 9 Year-Old in Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals

This week, the Bruce family will be making a trip down from their home in Fort Fairfield in Aroostook County to the big city of Augusta. However, Maine’s capital city that sits some 240 miles south of their northern Maine home may just be the first of many pit stops as they work their way down to the other Augusta, the town all golfers hold dear to their hearts, even if they've never visited. Yes, that one -- Augusta, Georgia, home of Augusta National Golf Club and annual host to the year's first major championship. Michael Bruce, the 9 year-old golfer who plays at Aroostook Valley Country Club in Fort Fairfield, is one of a select group of national qualifiers who will compete in the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship at Augusta National this Sunday preceding the Masters.

A joint initiative founded in 2013 by the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and The PGA of America, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is a free nationwide junior golf development competition aimed at growing the game by focusing on the three fundamental skills employed in golf.

By tapping the creative and competitive spirit of girls and boys ages 7-15, the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship provides aspiring junior golfers an opportunity to play with their peers in qualifiers around the country. Participants who advance through local, sub-regional and regional qualifying in each age/gender category earn a place in the National Finals, which is conducted at Augusta National Golf Club the Sunday before the Masters.

Bruce is one of twenty qualifiers from around the country that will compete in the 7-9 year-old age group. His path to Augusta National started last summer at Val Halla Golf Course in Cumberland, where he advanced out of the local qualifying stage. He then moved on all the way to the Regional qualifier at The Country Club in Brookline, MA, where he took home first place honors again, and with it, a ticket to Augusta National. 

According to his mini-bio on the Drive, Chip & Putt website, Bruce seems to be a normal boy of his age outside of his golf prowess. He likes playing basketball and video games, and aspires to be a pro golfer when he grows up. His dream foursome would be his "dad, Jack Nicklaus, and Grampy Bruce." And if he ever went on to win the Masters later in life, the meal of his choosing at the following year's champions dinner would be chicken fingers. Click here for a complete look at his bio on the Drive, Chip &Putt website.

The national Drive, Chip & Putt Championship will take place this Sunday, April 2 at Augusta National Golf Club. The event will be covered nationally by the Golf Channel at 8 am. Be sure to tune in and cheer for one of our own!

Know a junior golfer who could follow in Michael's footsteps next year? Registration for the 2018 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is open now. Children ages 7-15 (as of April 1, 2018) can be signed up to participate in one of the more than 260 local qualifiers that will be held across the country. The full qualifying schedule is now available here. Maine will play host to one of these qualifiers, on June 3, 2017 at Val Halla GC in Cumberland.