Werner To Compete At Drive, Chip & Putt Regionals

September 5, 2018
Werner To Compete At Drive, Chip & Putt Regionals

The local golf community has a player to root for this weekend.

High school or college? Neither. Amateur, pro? Try again.

Nick Werner of Wilkes-Barre, a sixth-grade student at St. Nicholas, will play Sunday in the regional Drive, Chip & Putt tournament at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.

Werner is competing in the 10-11 boys age bracket, for which he qualified thanks to his performance last month during a subregional qualifier at The ACE Club outside Philadelphia.

“He’s gotten better throughout the years,” Joe Werner said of his son, Nick, who’s played on the Drive, Chip & Putt circuit the past five years. “The more experience you get at doing it, of course, the better you get at doing it. It’s been a great opportunity for him. He’s done quite well there. The competition at this level is so good; he’ll be playing kids from North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania — all the best players will be at this regional event.”

While it’s a treat to play at Congressional, home of three U.S. Opens (most recently in 2011), the champion in each age group Sunday will advance to play in the finals at Augusta National during the week of the Masters.

Getting to Augusta National will require an excellent showing in all three areas: driving, chipping and putting.

The event uses an aggregate score that rewards golfers for long drives, accurate chips, and how a player handles putts of 6, 15 and 30 feet.

During subregional qualifying at The ACE Club, Werner placed first in putting, third in chipping and 12th in driving.

Overall, Werner’s score of 129 was two points behind the first-place finisher. Fifteen players were in the field, but only the top-two made the cut.

Werner is not the only golfer from the area who will play in Sunday’s tournament, as he’ll be joined by Michael Maslanka of Taylor. Maslanka competes in the 12-13 bracket, one age group ahead of Werner’s.

Maslanka was a first-place finisher in subregionals, where he scored a 150.

“Nick and Mike have been playing together for a long time, since Nick was six and Mike was seven in PGA Junior League events,” Joe Werner said. “Mike is a very accomplished player. He’s very, very good.”

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