(Update: Adding video, comments from golfer, family)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Bend 12-year-old Owen Greenough is working on his game at Awbrey Glen Golf Club, because in April, he’ll be heading to Augusta National for the Drive Chip Putt finals.
Owen’s dad, Ben Greenough, is excited for him and his son to make the trip.
“Definitely the reason we did the Drive Chip Putt was we wanted to punch our ticket to Augusta,” Ben said Monday.
Ben said he thought golf would be a fun activity to bond with his son -- and at just 2 years old, he was a natural.
“Even with his plastic clubs and he could barely walk, he could hit the ball and get it in the air. Pretty soon, he was getting them out of the backyard,” Ben said. “It was pretty obvious at an early age he had sort of a natural inkling for it.”
Owen says he enjoys the power game of driving, the finesse game of chipping, and the short game of putting.
“I love it because there’s like three games in one,” Owen said.
He finished eight points better than then everyone else in the 12-13-year old-division at the regional qualifiers in September.
Owen says also enjoys when he outplays golfers at his club, even though they're older and have more experience.
“I find it actually kind of fun because they're not that good,” Owen whispers, jokingly. “So when I play with them, they’re always shocked at how good I am.”
Owen has competed in many national competitions, but he and his dad share the same favorite moment.
“I actually got a hole-in-one on the sixth hole, so that really set the hooks in,” Owen said.
His dad recalled the same moment, from his perspective.
“He was young -- he was 8," Ben said. "On the first tee, he was so nervous, he could hardly hit the ball. And then he got into it, and he was loving it. And on the sixth hole, to see him get that hole in one -- and then his arms just flew out to the side and he was soaring, running all the way up to the green -- he couldn’t believe it. That was super-cool.”
Owen says he hopes to get a college scholarship and eventually become a professional.
But he’s also learned that all that success comes with hard work.
“Just got to keep putting effort in, because you know, it’s going to get you somewhere, but you can’t see the results right away,” Owen said.
Regardless of where Owen ends up, his dad is proud.
“Oh, super-proud!" he said. "I’ve never been anything of an athlete. I mean, I enjoy it. I've played football, and obviously some golf. He picked it up. He's a natural at it, and definitely thrives in the competition, I think.”
Owen says he's excited for the competition at Augusta, and he's betting on himself.
“I really hope I do well -- and I probably will, if I keep putting in the effort,” Owen said.
The Drive Chip Putt finals will be held just before the start of The Masters.
Owen said his favorite golfer right now is Jordan Spieth, because of the way he keeps fighting, no matter what.