10-year-old Anchorage golfer advances to Drive, Chip & Putt regional at Pebble Beach

Golfer Zeyu Zhao teeing off at Anchorage Golf Course.
Golfer Zeyu Zhao teeing off at Anchorage Golf Course.(KTUU)
Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 8:04 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Anchorage golfer Zeyu Zhao is headed to Pebble Beach in California to represent Alaska at the Drive, Chip & Putt regional after winning his 10-year-old age group at the sub-regional competition in Oregon.

“I feel nervous and excited at the same time because Pebble Beach is a famous course,” Zhao said.

Drive, Chip & Putt is a national program to promote junior golf, and Alaska was the last state to join seven years ago. The competition tests the golfer’s ability to drive, having golfers tee up three drives down a 40-yard wide fairway, attempt three 10-15 yard chips at the scoring hole and putt from set distances.

“He’s going to be playing the world-renowned Pebble Beach,” Anchorage Golf Course Golf Operations manager Jeri Cunningham said. “How many (10)-year-olds get to do that? It is amazing.”

Cunningham said the Drive, Chip & Putt program in Alaska has grown and feels it’s important since schools in the state don’t have golf. She said local groups like the Wacky Women Golf Association donate to help golfers pay for travel expenses if they win the state Drive, Chip & Putt competition.

It’s an investment that is paying off as Zhao has a chance to become the second Alaskan to advance to nationals at Augusta National Golf Course. In 2019, Ian Bruchhauser represented the 49th state on the national stage, golfing at Augusta leading up to the Masters.

Zhao will compete in the regional qualifier on Sept. 26 in Pebble Beach, California.

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