Augusta National has its first female champ — 9-year-old Kelly Xu

Kelly Xu lines up her putt at Augusta National.

To start Masters week, Augusta National crowned its first female champion on Sunday. We’d say "woman champion," but Kelly Xu is only 9 years old, after all.

Xu, of Santa Monica, Calif., won the girls 7-9 division in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, an initiative of the U.S. Golf Association and PGA of America, partnered with the Masters Tournament Foundation. The nationwide competition, for boys and girls from 7 through 15, winnowed down over 17,000 young golfers to the 88 who got the chance to swing their clubs at the storied home of the Masters.


As the name indicates, they competed with drives, chips and putts. The youngsters used the driving range and a practice chipping green, as well as the putting green. But for their final shots, they stared down a 15-footer where Masters champions are made, on Augusta’s 18th green.

Xu’s group went first, so she was the first champ.

"Best day of my life," Xu said (via USA Today). "Before hitting the ball, I was extremely nerve-wracked, but when I stood over the ball, I knew I had done this my whole life, so I was calm."

She practiced as much as she could to get ready, but schoolwork came first, Xu said. And speaking of school, when asked her favorite subject, she answered, "Lunch."

Xu called Augusta National the "most amazing course in the world and the greens are really fast."

Spoken like a future pro.

And if Xu could come back to Augusta and play an actual round on the course, she knows just which member she would like to play with.