Young Cherokee golfer qualifies for Drive, Chip and Putt finals
Cherokee Nation citizen Kylie Fisher, 9, is waiting for her opportunity to compete in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – It might be difficult to schedule a tee time these days, but a young golfer is hoping she can soon reschedule a trip to the storied Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.
Kylie Fisher, a Cherokee Nation citizen and third-grader at Tahlequah’s Greenwood Elementary, was to participate in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on April 5 at Augusta before the Masters Tournament. The first of the PGA’s annual major tourneys was shelved, at least temporarily, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I’m so disappointed it has been postponed,” said Kylie, 9. “I was looking forward to competing against my friend Ava Frazier from Texas. My friend Porter Hart from Broken Arrow also made it for the boys 7-9 division. I hope it gets rescheduled. I was really looking forward to putting on the 18th green at Augusta National.”
Also hoping Kylie gets her chance at Augusta are her parents, Randy and Shauna Fisher.
“This is definitely a once in a lifetime experience for the entire family,” Shauna said. “DCP had a full schedule for us. They were also providing us with Masters practice round tickets for Monday.”
Kylie has competed and waited for months for the national DCP tournament. She won the local qualifier on July 14 at The First Tee Northwest Arkansas in Lowell. She won the sub-regional qualifier at LaFortune Park in Tulsa, then won the regional qualifier on Oct. 5 at The Alotian Club in Roland, Arkansas.
“The Alotian Club is a very prestigious golf club,” Shauna said. “Not many golfers get to experience this golf course.”
Kylie was to compete against nine other girls aged 7-9 across the country and the DCP National Finals were scheduled to air live on the Golf Channel. For now, the event is in limbo.
“Considering the latest information and expert analysis, we have decided at this time to postpone the Masters Tournament, the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and the Drive, Chip and Putt National Final,” ANGC chair Fred Ridley said in a release. “Ultimately, the health and well-being of everyone associated with these events and the citizens of the Augusta community led us to this decision.”
In his statement, Ridley said the hope was to reschedule the Masters, the Women’s Amateur and the DCP Finals, but no dates have yet been announced.
“We just know what the public knows at this point regarding the postponement of the Masters,” Shauna said. “It depends on the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. This has really put normal life at a standstill.”
In DCP qualifiers, each participant has three drives, scored on distance and staying inbounds. Three chips are taken on points and the distance of the ball from the hole. The putts are from distances of 6, 13 and 30 feet.
“The competition got tougher at each qualifier,” Kylie said. “The greens were so fast at The Alotian. I was tied with another girl going into the putting event. It came down to the last putt. I was so happy I had won. It feels amazing.”
Kylie said she entered DCP because she enjoys competition and thought it could be fun.
The kids compete for free at each level, ranging in ages from 7-15 and at different skill levels. Shauna said DCP makes the tournaments enjoyable for the competitors and gives them gifts for taking part.
As a CN citizen, Kylie enjoys representing the tribe, and is proud of her heritage.
“She has been on the Greenwood Cherokee Team since kindergarten,” Shauna said. “Kylie competes with three classmates in the Cherokee Challenge bowl and the Cherokee Language bowl every year. She enjoys learning about Cherokee history.”
Kylie actually picked up the clubs some time ago. She has taken part in the U.S. Kids Golf Tulsa Tour since age 6 and the PGA Junior League the past three summers. She also has played for the Gold Club of Oklahoma and Battle Creek Golf Club. Kylie counts among her greatest accomplishments a victory in the 7-under U.S. Kids Golf Texas State Invitational at Brookhaven Country Club in Dallas in 2018 and acing a hole in a U.S. Kids tournament in 2019 at Bailey Ranch Golf Course in Owasso.