AUGUSTA, Georgia (WITI) — Two local girls were among 25,000 golfers from around the country — all vying for the trip of a lifetime. If there were oddsmakers, they might not have given them much of a chance, but then, they haven’t met Emily Lauterbach and Jessica Guiser!
The 79th edition of the Masters Golf Tournament will be held at the famed Augusta National Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia from April 9th through April 12th. Anybody who’s been there will tell you it’s like walking on a field of dreams.
Dreams have come true for 14-year-old Emily Lauterbach and nine-year-old Jessica Guiser — local golfers who will compete in the Masters Drive, Chip and Putt contest at Augusta on Easter Sunday.
“I was amazed and really surprised and — wow!” Lauterbach said.
“I’ve actually never heard of the Drive, Chip and Putt until I tried out, and we kinda just said ‘why not?’ When I started, I didn’t think I was going to go to Augusta, but then the last one was like ‘I’m going to Augusta!’ I was really excited. I was like, speechless,” Guiser said.
Guiser is a third-grader at North Lake School. Lauterbach is an eighth-grader at Swallow School in Hartland. Both girls took up the game of golf at an early age.
“My dad has been playing for a long time, and when I was born, when I was five, he wanted me to start playing so he got me started playing,” Guiser said.
Their road to Augusta began with local qualifying last year, which featured thousands of golfers at more than 250 sites all over the United States — even into Canada. The top three scorers per venue in each of four age categories in girls and boys divisions advanced to 49 sub-regional qualifiers in August. Two juniors in each age and gender division competed at the regionals in September.
“In the local, I didn’t think I was going to win, but I got second place, so I went to the next and I didn’t think I was going to win that one either, but I did. And then the next one, I didn’t feel like I was going to win, and I did,” Guiser said.
Don’t let Guiser’s diminutive size or tender age fool you. There’s a competitive fire in her belly.
“I really want to win!” Guiser said.
On Easter Sunday, April 5th each young lady will have a chance to win the national finals at Augusta. The event will be televised the following weekend in conjunction with the Masters.
“It’s not the camera I’m worried about. It’s the people there watching me. I’ll be nervous. I think I’ll be speechless once I step on those grounds. Not many people get to do it,”
Emily Lauterbach and Jessica Guiser have become celebrities of sorts at school and among their friends.
“None of them play golf, but once they found out how big it was, they’re like ‘that’s amazing! That’s so cool!'” Lauterbach said.
What’s also cool is that these young ladies are taking their parents on the trip of a lifetime.
“It’s pretty amazing. My dad always wanted to go there, and now I’m taking him there,” Guiser said.
“My dad and sister really, they’ve gone to four of the five big, major events, and this will complete it for them. Not me, but them,” Lauterbach said.
Lauterbach and Guiser may have their heads in the clouds, but their feet are firmly planted on the ground. They have the right attitude about the event, but they are competitors after all.
“I’ll try my best and I’ll try to have fun and I hope I really win!” Guiser said.
“I’m gonna go out and try my best and hopefully get a green jacket,” Lauterbach said.