Augusta in Medcalf's future

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 16, 2013 

Logan Medcalf, 8, won the Pacific Northwest in the National Drive Chip and Putt Championship for his age group last week and received a trip to Augusta, Ga., next spring to compete at the national competition before The Masters.

NICOLE MEDCALF — Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Logan Medcalf wasn't even 2 years old before he swung his first golf club.

Like anyone at that age, Medcalf, who plays a majority of his golf at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club, gripped the club in a way that felt natural to him, having no concept of what was considered right or wrong. Despite being right-handed, his hands found the left-handed grip more comfortable.

It looks odd, his mother, Nicole Medcalf, admitted, but it hasn't hindered to her sons success in the game of golf.

Medcalf, funky grip and all, won the regional qualifier for the PGA Drive, Chip and Putt contest Sunday, Aug. 11, in Lacey. With it, Medcalf, 8, earned a trip to the Augusta National Golf Club in April in Augusta, Ga., to compete in the final round of the competition against the other 10 qualifiers.

Even an 8-year-old like Medcalf knows how awesome it will be to play golf on one of the most famous courses in the world.

"It's pretty fun that I get to putt on the 18th green," he said in a phone interview. "It's pretty tough, though."

The qualifiers will also have a chance to meet the professional golfers who will be preparing for The Masters golf tournament. Medcalf takes little time to think of who he is most excited to see.

"Tiger Woods," he said. "I think I would say, 'Would you sign my hat?' Then I would let it stink up."

Safe to say, that hat would never see the clean side of a washing machine.

The Drive, Chip and Putt golf tournament Medcalf won is a score-based tournament that places point values on performances in each of the three disciplines.

The driving portion rewards golfers with points based on distance and accuracy, chipping on how close the ball gets to the hole, and the same goes for putting. The closer the ball gets to the hole in the latter two sections, the more the points.

Medcalf didn't dominate any one section of the competition. Actually, he didn't even win one outright, finishing third in driving, second in chipping and sixth in putting.

As the competition came to a close, Nicole Medcalf, Logan's mother, and her husband, Matt, had taken the children up to the chipping green to wait for the final results.

"I thought, well, maybe he finished fourth or fifth," she said in a phone interview. "We told him that we were so proud of him for competing and keeping his composure."

It was his first ever golf tournament, so expectations weren't high. Merely competing and vying for the chance to go to Augusta was enough, she said.

After the putting results were posted, he was six points behind. The driving results had yet to be posted, and Nicole had wandered off to talk with some of the other parents.

Then her husband grabbed her.

"My husband is standing there with the other ladies, and I see him signaling me," she said. "He said, 'I think he did it,' and sure enough, he put all three of his drives on the fairway."

He had won, but his response was anything but jubilant like one might expect.

"He was like, 'OK, great, I won,'" said Nicole of her son finding out he had won. "His mother went crazy. He just went, 'OK, I won.'"

But then again, his even-keeled, calm-as-a-cucumber personality is what helped him win. He never got too high or too low, and his scores reflected that. And when dealing with a game like golf, where frustration often ruins many a good round, her son showed the composure of a veteran, not a kid playing in his first-ever tournament.

"He'll have a bad hole and pretty much move on the next one," she said, a rare characteristic found in any golfer.

Maybe even one that might find him playing at Augusta on a bigger stage.

"I don't think it hit him just how once in a lifetime this is," Nicole said, "but we're hoping that someday he will get there and play for real."

Medcalf's home course corrected

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