Should this years Masters be decided by a putt on the 72nd hole, as it most often is, Natalie Pietromonaco will know better than most what the player is feeling and what the putt does.
Thats because she won her age division Sunday in the Drive, Chip and Putt Finals at Augusta National. On No. 18, putting across the green to the traditional final-round front-left hole location.
Talk about rare insight.
Pietromonaco, 13, an Auburn resident, eighth-grader at Newcastle Elementary and 7-handicapper at The Ridge, was one of eight gender and age-group champions crowned Sunday. Thats from more than 15,000 who entered the inaugural event and 88 who made it to the finals.
How did she handle the nerves of a big crowd and myriad Golf Channel cameras?
I just decided I was going to have fun and embrace the competition, she said. I love competing and that is what I was there to do. I was loving where I was at. Loving the pressure.
Pietromonaco advanced through local qualifying in June and regional qualifying in August, then had to wait eight months for seven critical swings two drives, two chips and three putts.
Her best drive was so-so, she made up ground with two solid chip shots and then closed the deal with her putter in green jacket fashion.
It was amazing, she said of the experience.
• Look for two-time Masters winner Tom Watson during todays par-3 contest. Then look for his caddie, Pleasant Grove High School sophomore Jarrod Jordan.
Jordan, 16, will be the one in the white jumpsuit. Hes spending the week in Augusta with his father, Gavin, who trains horses for the Watson family.
Should Watson call on Jordan to hit a shot or roll a putt in the for-fun event, the 9.2-handicapper at Rancho Murieta is prepared.
Theres only one thing I can do, he said Tuesday, wide-eyed after his first day at Augusta National. Just smile and swing away.
• Austin Roberts (Carmichael) won the Northern California Golf Association Public Links Championship at Bayonet in Seaside. He birdied the final hole to win the 113-player, 36-hole event by one shot.
• Quinn Carlsen (El Dorado Hills) won a Future Collegians World Tour tournament at Hunter Ranch in Paso Robles. His two-round total of 5-under-par 139 was best by one shot.
Call The Bees Steve Pajak, (916) 326-5526.