It's been less than two years since he picked up his first set of clubs, but Chase Hurt is already making a mark on the golf course.
Chase, 14-year-old son of Barry and Lisa Hurt of Destin, has qualified for the inaugural PGA of America Drive, Chip and Putt Championship created by the Masters Tournament Foundation, United States Golf Association and PGA of America. In April of 2014 he will be one of 11 14- to 15-year-old boys who will compete for the championship that will be held at Augusta National Golf Club during the week of the Masters.
"I'm excited about it," Chase said. "If you win, I think you get to play a practice round with a pro."
He's got his sights set on playing with Phil Mickelson.
Chase said he found out about the Drive, Chip and Putt contest while watching the Masters and decided to give it a try.
At his first event in Tallahassee, "It didn't go so well, but I made it. I got second place with a score of 91," he said.
There were 110 PGA local contests that were held across the country with more than 30,000 entries.
With his second place finish, he qualified for the PGA North Florida Regional held in Orlando on Aug. 17.
Chase captured first place with a score of 147 and the chance to advance to the championships at next year's Masters.
Chase, who plays for the Destin Middle School Marlin golf team, made the team as a sixth grader. Since then he has won seven tournaments in the Emerald Coast Junior Golf Tour and shot under par in most of his seventh grade middle school games.
But it hasn't all just happened by chance, the young man puts in the time practicing 15 hours a week and playing two to three tournaments a month.
Although he says he can hit it 250 yards off the tee, he said chipping is his strongest part of the game right now.
"I've been working hard on that," he said.
His favorite local course is Regatta Bay, which also serves as the home course for the Marlins.
For now, "I just like playing and hanging out and getting better," Chase said.
But his dream is "to go pro … hopefully I'll make it that far."