Lebanon 11-year-old preparing to play golf at Augusta


Brock Jernigan is pretty much your typical 11-year-old. “I have 2K on my Nintendo,” said Brock.

He plays the occasional video game. “I made my own character and sometimes I like to beat the other characters on there,” Brock said.

He’s into sports. “I like to play a lot of soccer and basketball too,” Brock said. “I’m a multi-sport kid.”

And, oh yeah, he’s playing golf at Augusta this weekend. “It’s kind of sunk in now,” Brock said. “But once I get there I think it’s going to be awesome.”

After winning three prestigious golf tournaments in Springfield, Kansas City, and Denver he’s one of ten kids in his age group who have qualified for the Drive, Pitch, and Putt tournament ahead of the Masters. His dad, Lebanon soccer coach Matt Jernigan, remembers the moment he realized this was all possible for Brock. “Well, never,” said Matt, with a laugh. “He’s good.”

Although he’s already got nearly a decade of experience under his belt. “He used to come out here with me to Marshfield when he was about two,” Matt said. “We used to put him in the car seat and he used to follow us around. He had a little blue club that was plastic that he would hit, just watching dad play.”

Now he’ll be watching his favorite pros. “Every Sunday that we go to our grandparents house I like to see John Rahm and Rory McIlroy hit,” Brock said. “I’d like to meet any of the pros but that will be my top two to meet.”

That will be Monday when they get to walk with the pros during their practice round. Brock’s competition is Sunday when he’ll get two drives, two chips, and two putts to try and earn a trophy. But the first event is Saturday night when they go to a banquet hosted by the president of the PGA and the director of the Masters. “I think that banquet is what he’s most nervous about more than the golf itself,” Matt said. “I mean, we’re from Lebanon. We’re not used to these big fancy things.”

But what’s a little party to a kid who’s living proof anything’s possible when you put your mind to it? “We’ve always told him, work hard and who knows what’ll happen,” Matt said. “And well, we know what happened.”

And whatever happens this weekend there’s not more than nine kids in the world his age who could do it better.

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