Snohomish boy Stocker golfs his way into Augusta championship
SNOHOMISH — Maverick Stocker, age 8, has earned his ticket to Augusta National after winning the Drive, Chip and Putt golf regional qualifier at Chambers Bay near Tacoma on Sept. 9.
The pint-sized prodigy had his longest drive of his life, 184 yards, which was also the longest drive hit at the Sept. 9 competition. It was his third attempt at the annual tournament, which he first tried at only age 6.
“I’ve been golfing since I could walk,” Stocker said. “I have a lot of family members that play golf and try to help and teach me; that really helps.”
Thousands of children begin the competition each year nationwide. Stocker was one of 45 who made it to the first round at Mount Si Golf course in Snoqualmie where he tied for second place. In the second round of 12 players, at The Home Depot Course in Dupont, he took first place before coming in first among 11 peers most recently at Chambers Bay.
Stocker admitted to some anxiety as results were tallied. Going into the putting section he was in third place and needed some good putts to make it, said his aunt April VanAssche. But “Maverick stepped up and drained his 6 foot putt and then also drained his 15 foot putt being the only guy to make both.”
Despite the rare jitters, Stocker says he loves the beauty of golf courses and practices hours each week to hone his game.
Mom Lisa Stocker loves the game because “it teaches patience and courtesy and how to be a good human being.”
Those qualities showed at Chambers Bay. After his victory over 10 competitors, he played down the win for cameras, waiting to do a victory dance until the other children left.
“Maverick is a very focused kid … but with a gentle heart for others,” VanAssche said.
In April, Stocker will head to Augusta, Georgia to compete in the national Drive, Chip and Putt Championship among nine other elite peers in his age group. Right by hisside will be his dad Stubby Stocker serving as his coach and caddy.
The game has been a lifelong passion for Stubby Stocker, who played in high school and transmitted the bug to his brothers and father. After studying golf course maintenance in college, he turned an old turf farm into a driving range. Stocker
now owns the Snohomish Valley Golf Center in Snohomish and the family is members at the Everett Golf and Country Club.
The young Stocker is never short on playing space or practice, along with dad’s range, he hones his skills in the golf club’s junior league.
But Maverick isn’t all about playing golf. He’s a year-round athlete who enjoys soccer, basketball and skiing.
When he’s not playing sports, he watches on TV. Lately, he’s tuned in to the PGA U.S. and European Tours, cheering on Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth. Little does the 8-year-old realize, soon he’ll be the one fans are cheering on.
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