HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — An 11-year-old golfer from Hilo will make his debut at the national Drive, Chip and Putt event at the Augusta National Golf Course in Georgia on Sunday, April 3.

Drive, Chip and Putt event recruits a new generation of golfers ages 7 to 15 years old.

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Leo Saito plays and practices golf every day after school and sometimes on weekends.

He won regionals in Arizona to be qualified for the 2022 Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals event in Augusta, Georgia.

“I’ve been working harder on my driving, chipping and putting because I’m trying to win the Drive, Chip and Putt in Augusta,” the St. Joseph School fifth-grader said. “My coach has been preparing harder for me so I can win the Drive, Chip and Putt and Golf Treasures because he’s been doing my clubs for me and getting the right shafts on me for the clubs. Then I’d like to thank my mom for supporting me.”

“Because he is going to Augusta National, he forced himself to practice harder,” said Leo’s mom Misaki Saito. “Actually, he is getting it. So, it’s not his weakest skill anymore.”

The Drive, Chip and Putt event will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel on Sunday, April 3. Leo’s mom, dad, Syuck Ki Saito, and younger brother Lenny are all going to the tournament.

The Masters Tournament event starts the next day.

Leo has been golfing for three years under the guidance of his coach Troy Sato. Leo said he was inspired to play golf in part because of his maternal grandfather who plays golf in Japan.

When he is not playing golf, or going to school, he enjoys playing golf video games.

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When Leo grows up, he wants to be a professional golfer.