Rheagan Hall's day at Augusta National Golf Club began with a drive down Magnolia Lane and with Lou Holtz — wearing his green jacket — opened her van door in front of the clubhouse.
It ended with a five-minute talk from Gary Player.
In between are moments that the eighth-grade golfer at Cleveland Middle School will never forget including a sixth-place finish in her division of the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt national finals.
"This will never happen again in my life," Hall said over the phone on Sunday. "Years from now I can say, 'I was in the first one.'"
Hall's experience supersedes her finish through the sheer experience of practicing and playing on the famous grounds and alongside world-famous golfers.
She warmed up on the members range alongside Arnold Palmer, Fuzzy Zoeller, Vijay Singh and Freddy Couples. Then she headed to the Masters practice facility and shook hands before bombing her first of two drives 230 yards.
"You see the grandstands and there were so many people," Hall said. "Then Bubba [Watson] came over and shook my hand. That was awesome."
Hall earned seven points for driving and eight points and sat in third place heading to the final putt on the 18th green -- the same putt Adam Scott sank last year to force a playoff in the Masters.
"Then the nerves hit me, 'I have the national championship in my hands,'" she said. "I didn't get the break right, or the speed right. I blew it bye the hole by a lot."
Hall's father, Mack, said she was devastated and shed a few tears.
"She was that tore up because she's that competitive," Mr. Hall said. "We needed to get away for a bit and people kept pointing and we kept walking. It wasn't until later I realized everybody in our room was wearing a green jacket. We were in the members' dining room."
Hall eventually perked up.
"Rheagan was still in her pouty mood when Brandt Snedeker came over," Hall said. "He sat there for 10 minutes and told her how he lost the Masters on 18 a couple years ago, 'And I went over there and bawled my eyes out.' He said, 'I know where you've been, and you have to have these hard times in order to get better.'"
But one putt couldn't ruin Hall's super Sunday.
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...