Augusta on radar: Brantley on cusp of reaching Drive, Chip and Putt Finals

Kaiden Brantley got to meet his hero Tiger Woods several years ago.

Staff Writer

Kaiden Brantley fell in love with golf because of PGA star Tiger Woods.

The 9-year-old Starkville resident once even had the chance to meet his hero. At the rate Brantley is going these days, he might one day have fans looking up to him the same way he’s always admired Woods.

Brantley is on the cusp of playing in the National Finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt competition put on by the Masters Tournament, United States Golf Association and The PGA of America. Brantley has already advanced through local and sub-regional competition and is now slated to compete in a regional at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, next month.

“I’m super excited,” Brantley said of how far he’s come.

The top finisher in the event at TPC Sawgrass will advance to face nine others at the nationally-televised National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia on the Sunday prior to the 2019 Masters Tournament.

It’s quite the accomplishment for Brantley who has essentially loved golf his entire life.

“He’s been golfing ever since he could hold a club in his hand and walk,” Kaiden’s father, Derrick, said.

Kaiden is of course walking and swinging his clubs just fine these days. In preparation for next month’s event, he’s been polishing up his game with his golf coaches at Old Waverly in West Point.
“We practice a lot,” Kaiden said. “We go to Waverly most of the time.”

Perhaps, with a little more practice, Kaiden can head into next month’s contest in Jacksonville and win the chance to play at the same place his hero, Woods, has won at multiple times. Woods has four Masters Tournament victories at Augusta.

Maybe one day, Kaiden can be just as successful. One thing is for sure. He couldn’t be off to a much better start in his golfing life.

“I want to do something like (Woods) when I get older,” Kaiden said. “I’m just excited.”