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Local golfers selected to compete in Drive, Chip and Putt at Augusta National

Sophia Capua and Matai Naqica will compete in the national finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt competition.

LITTLETON, Colo. — Eighth grader Sophia Capua of Vista Peak Exploratory and Columbine High School sophomore Matai Naqica are in for a young golfer's trip of a lifetime.

"I’m really excited for this," Naqica  said. "It’s every golfer’s dream to go to Augusta National."

Capua added: "It’s really exciting but I’m also really nervous because they said it’s going to be on television and I’m camera shy so," with a laugh.

These two Colorado natives have qualified for the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. They are two of four Colorado kids who will compete at the site of The Masters in three skills competitions: driving, chipping, and putting.

"It’s really cool to be 10 out of 40,000 that qualify for this tournament," Naqica said.

"Yeah, it’s really exciting. I just want to go there, you know. It’s always been a goal,” Capua said.

Naqica says he even may run into some golf legends while at Augusta: "I might be able to meet Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus. All those guys."

Both athletes say family and friends are pumped up about this opportunity.

"Well, my grandpa likes to tell everybody that I’m going to Augusta,” Capua said. "My dad is just like so shocked."

Credit: KUSA Sports

"Some think I’m joking. Others are really amazed," Naqica  added.

Naqica’s golf coach, Cory Olsen, says this will be a moment his player remembers for a long time.

"I’ve talked a lot with him about you know ‘dude whatever happens, this is already a win.’ We’re getting to go where the mecca of golf [is]," Olsen  said. "It’s just unreal. The place is sacred. It’s pretty cool the players you coach are making your dreams happen."

Naqica says his best discipline of the three is driving: "My goal for the drive portion over there is to hit a 300-yard drive because it’s never been done."

What about Sophia? "It depends on the day really but I would say putting," Capua said.

Taking all of Augusta in will be special but winning is still on their minds.

"I think I know when to like soak it up and just focus really hard," Naqica said.

Capua  added: "I’ll look around the days I’m free but when it’s the real tournament it’s like stay focused and don’t dilly dally ya know?" 

Sophia says if she wins, she’ll be emotional, "Uh I don’t know. Maybe a little crying, screaming?"

Credit: KUSA Sports

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