Lydic wins Drive, Chip & Putt Sub-Regional — Next stop: Augusta?
There aren’t many 8-year olds committed to the sport of golf, and there are certainly far fewer winning PGA Tour-affiliated events. However, Ocean View’s Sarah Lydic has taken her golf game from practice shots around the house to recently winning the second annual Drive, Chip & Putt Sub-Regional in Philadelphia, qualifying her for the regional event in Great Falls, Va., on Sept. 6.
Before taking first place in the 7-9 age division in Philadelphia, Lydic first earned her trip by winning the local qualifier at Bayside earlier this summer. After advancing, she not only won her age division at the sub-regional event but beat most of the older girls, as well — posting an overall score of 94, which was second to only one other golfer, in the 10-11 age group, and better than any golfer in the 7-9 age range by 20 points.
The national event is scored the same for all age groups, so the scores can be compared directly.
Currently, Lydic is practicing a few times a week with her sister, Hannah, who is quite the golfer herself, and parents Garret and Leslie Lydic. They’ll typically spend an hour driving, an hour chipping and an hour putting in preparation, in addition to the time spent at home where the girls set up various golfing challenges to compete against each other.
Growing up in Sussex County, both Lydic sisters started off playing softball, but their attention quickly turned to golf when their father noticed their natural swing.
“We started them in tee-ball, and I noticed right away that their swing was kind of a natural-type swing,” Garret Lydic explained. “It looked kind of like a Fred Couples-type swing — real nice and natural swing. They started hitting in the house. We had a bucket of balls.”
“We broke one picture. That was it,” Leslie Lydic added with a laugh.
From there, the girls moved on to chipping and putting and began to progress; however, their interest in golf really began to escalate after their father stumbled upon an article on Amy Anderson — who, as a freshman at the University of North Dakota, was leading the Women’s U.S. Open after the first round.
Intrigued, he decided to contact Anderson to see if she had any advice for his daughters. In her email response, they figured out that one of her teammates had once had a friend of Lydic’s — whom he had mentioned because that friend now lives in North Dakota — as a math teacher. It was a coincidence that sparked further communication.
“It was a funny thing,” he recalled. “We communicated back and forth a couple times and she gave me some drills for the girls to work on.”
After working on the drills and practicing at home, the girls began to play at local courses, such as Bayside, and eventually started competing in tournaments, including the U.S. Kids Golf Tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where Hannah placed third and Sarah took first.
“They compete against each other. They compete against themselves,” said their father of the friendly sibling rivalry after noting that the girls push each other to do better.
Currently, Sarah Lydic is only nine shots away from earning a spot in the finals at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia. While the three drives, three chips and three putts will have to wait until Sept. 6, her parents, her sister and those in the local golfing community who know her have faith that she’ll be able to make them all proud.
“We have one month to train for it, and she’ll have nine shots,” explained Garret Lydic. “She’s gonna have to do well and get enough points to win it. She definitely can do it.”