Deon Cook looked at his 10-year-old daughter, Drayauna, and asked whether she’d be nervous attempting a 15-foot putt on Augusta National Golf Club’s 18th green with hundreds of people watching.
“No way,” Drayauna said during the second annual Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. “I could handle it.”
Her confidence stems from five years of experience. She earned a spot in the Drive, Chip and Putt national semifinals in 2014 as a member of the Atlanta Junior Golf Association.
Her father, the head golf coach at Shiloh High School in Snellville, Ga., continues to train her, and she is playing local courses with her 15-year-old brother, Drequan, to improve.
She said she birdied a hole Saturday at Fort Gordon’s Gordon Lakes Golf Club. Renowned course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. designed the original 18-hole layout in 1976, and the course now features a signature island green.
“I hate that one,” said Drequan, who is helping his sister qualify for the Drive, Chip and Putt after missing two chances to qualify in Atlanta.
Deon Cook started playing golf with his son in 2007, after he retired from the Air Force as a master sergeant. His love for the game captured the interest of Drayauna in 2010.
The closest Drequan has come to beating his father is one stroke. At one point, he led Saturday on the front nine at Gordon Lakes.
The three said they plan to stay in Augusta a couple of days to try to land some practice round tickets to see the course and possibly help Drayauna judge the greens.
“I like watching other people swing,” she said. “Sometimes it helps me improve.”