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Pine preteen golfer gets opportunity to compete at Augusta

Submitted - Lauren Freyvogel, 12, of Pine is a finalist in the inaugural National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship set to kick off the Masters Tournament in early April.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>Lauren Freyvogel, 12, of Pine is a  finalist in the inaugural National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship set to kick off the Masters Tournament in early April.
Submitted - Lauren Freyvogel, 12, of Pine is a finalist in the inaugural National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship set to kick off the Masters Tournament in early April.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>Lauren Freyvogel, 12, of Pine is a  finalist in the inaugural National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship set to kick off the Masters Tournament in early April.
Submitted - Lauren Freyvogel
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>Lauren Freyvogel

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Golfer Lauren Freyvogel, 12, eventually hopes to make a career out of her favorite sport.

“I use a Titleist NXT Tour S,” the 4-foot-11 seventh-grader said about her favorite brand of golf ball.

Lauren — daughter of Brian Freyvogel and Cathy Vesco-Freyvogel of Pine — also uses a custom-made set of TaylorMade golf clubs.

Watch for her next month on the Golf Channel.

Lauren is a finalist in the inaugural National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, set to kick off the Masters Tournament in April at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

The Masters Tournament Foundation, United States Golf Association, and PGA of America created the free national skills competition for boys and girls, ages 7 to 15.

“I'm very excited for this opportunity and thankful for it,” Lauren said.

In August 2013, Lauren became a finalist by winning the Middle Atlantic Regional Qualifying Drive, Chip and Putt Competition at River Bend Golf & Country Club in Great Falls, Va.

“She absolutely loves the game,” said Denise Boeh of Denise's Golf Academy in North Park.

A launch monitor at the academy recently recorded a record 217-foot drive by Lauren.

“I try to keep her ego in check. She's still a little kid,” said Lauren's mother, a retired certified public accountant. “If she's not playing golf, she's watching the Golf Channel.”

Lauren discovered her aptitude for golf when her father — senior investment manager at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh — enrolled Lauren, then 5, in a weeklong summer golf camp for children at Denise's Golf Academy. Lauren then finished third in a camp-closing round of golf at the par-3 course in North Park.

Lauren now takes one or two golf lessons a week with Boeh.

“She's a great putter, which is unique for her age, to have that kind of touch and finesse around the green,” Boeh said.

At Augusta National Golf Club, Lauren will test her putting skill against 10 other girls, ages 12 and 13, on the club's storied 18th green. Final rounds of the National Drive, Chip and Putt Championship competition are set for April 6. The Golf Channel will broadcast the youth contest.

In addition to putting, Lauren excels at driving a golf ball, according to her coach.

“She not only gets good distance, but she hits straight, which is such a positive,” Boeh said. “Her position in the swing is what I show all my adults.”

Lauren lists her “mid-iron approach shots” as her weakest golf skill.

What does Lauren like about golf?

“I like how each shot is a different challenge,” she said.

Lauren aspires to one day compete as a member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

“I hope to be an LPGA tour member,” she said.

A straight-A student at Pine-Richland Middle School, Lauren also competes on the Pine-Richland Aquatics Swim Team and studies tap, ballet and jazz dancing at Tammy's School of Dance in Pine.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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