The Brightside: OC teen golfer finalist in national competition
OCEAN CITY, Md. – A teenage golfer from Ocean City will soon head to one of the most famous golf courses in the country for the Drive, Chip, and Putt competition. But winning his spot as a finalist in the competition took a lot of hard work and some long days on the golf course.
“I don’t really understand it yet! I don’t know, I haven’t wrapped my mind around it, still, it’s been like four months, I still can’t believe it, but it’s awesome,” Michael DePalma said.
Michael is a 15-year-old Ocean City native and he is a golf superstar who recently beat out thousands of other teenage players across the country for a spot in the national Drive, Chip, and Putt competition.
“I probably play maybe 4-5 times a week in the summer, which is really nice, I can go out, first one out and just get done really fast and then hit balls after,” he said.
Michael says he didn’t start playing golf at a super young age, that he’s only been playing for about four years. He says at first, he wouldn’t really consider himself a natural.
“I was young, and I wasn’t really into it, because I didn’t have the patience for it, I just kind of went around and hit the ball pretty much, and it was a high score,” he said.
But after getting into the swing of things, he started loving the game, especially after a good round.
“It makes me feel good, and it makes you feel like you want to go out and play more, you probably can’t, but then it just makes you excited for the next time you go out and play and makes you want to practice more,” Michael said.
Now he’s focused driving those skills home at the competition in April at the renowned Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, the home of the Master’s Tournament. He says his family got a new simulator in their garage so Michael can practice during the winter, and he’s also making sure all of his clubs are ready for the competition.
“I got fitted for a new driver so I can hit it farther and more accurately, hopefully,” he explained.
While he’s still got a few weeks to practice, Michael says going into the competition, he just wants to soak it all in.
“That’ll be incredible if I’m the winner… We’ll just play it by ear, but if I win, that’d be awesome,” he said.