Menasha's Helminen excited for chance to Drive, Chip & Putt
MENASHA - Playing at Augusta National is the ultimate bucket-list dream for any golf fan. Playing it, that's another story.
This weekend, nine-year old Aliisa Helminan will get the chance at the 2018 Drive, Chip & Putt competition.
"I'm super excited, I still can't believe it, I'm really excited for this week," Helminen said. "I'm going to be able to go down to Augusta which is going to be amazing."
After falling just short last year, the young golfer drove her way through local, regional and subregionals to qualify this season.
"I was mostly excited not very nervous but you always get a little bit nervous each tournament," Helminen said. "I've seen it on t.v. and I saw this amazing course and I was like, I really want to play it."
An impressive feat, the Menasha native is just one of two Wisconsin natives between 7-15 years old to make the cut.
"For her to hit all nine of those shots at all three levels and still be here standing going to Augusta, that shows me that she's very determined and can handle the pressure," Aliisa's dad and coach Ryan Helminen said.
It's another special golf moment for a family that knows a thing or two about them, Ryan has qualified for three PGA Championships in recent years.
"Last year I didn't get through to the PGA Championship and she said to me don't worry dad, I'll get you to the masters," Ryan Helminen said. "She held up her end of the bargain and that was a great story.
The younger Helminen will be up against the best of the best, hoping to outscore her age bracket in each of the skill sets.
Ultimately, getting to take to the Greens at the same venue The Masters will be held the following week, already makes her Green Jacket worthy.
"My worry is putting but I'm pretty good at chipping and driving," Helminen said. "All I can do is hope and try my best."
The competition will take place Sunday at 7 a.m. and can be seen live on the Golf Channel.