Not only has she spent considerable time hitting the books as a full-time student and member of the Cleveland Middle School golf team, the eighth-grade Lady Raider has also been busy making a name for herself on the regional and now national level as a competitor in the PGA's National Drive, Chip and Putt contest.
Rheagan, her parents Mack and Karen, brother Tripp and a considerable number of other family members traveled to Augusta National Sunday where she competed with 11 other girls for the championship of the inaugural PGA sponsored event. It was the first ever PGA and USGA- affiliated event including female competitors to be held at the famed golf course that is home to the Masters tournament.
Unfortunately, there was no first-place trophy for Rheagan at the competition, but an impressive sixth-place finish in the girls’ 14-15 age group and inspiring words from some legends of golf provided a lifetime of memories and more than adequately made for a successful and fun-filled weekend.
“Her morning started with warming up on the driving range with Arnold Palmer, Vijay Singh, Freddie Couples, and Fuzzy (Zoeller),” said Rheagan’s mother. “She ended her day with encouraging words from Brandt Snedeker and Gary Player. The middle was pretty amazing, too. What a day, full of memories of a lifetime.”
Rheagan, who is as comfortable stalking big game with a muzzleloader as she is stepping up to the tee with a driver on the golf course, started playing at age 4, and credits Mack and family friend Neil Scott with kindling her interest in the sport.
The game also is a method of learning for Rheagan, who uses her experiences on the links as a study in life management.
Although LPGA star Paula Creamer is her favorite golfer, she uses a quote attributed to legendary golfer quote Bobby Jones — “Competitive golf is played mainly on a six-inch course, the space between your ears”— as motivation to help her manage any situation that may arise not only on the golf course, but in life as well.
But if a career as a player on the LPGA Tour doesn't happen to be in the cards, Rheagan said she will be just as satisfied with a course in nature as a game warden.
Although the Charleston resident takes the game of golf seriously, as reflected on her scorecards, Rheagan also sees the competition as a time to enjoy a sunny afternoon with family and companions.
Still, a competitive spirit seemingly runs in the Hall family, particularly with Rheagan and Mack when it comes to a round on the links. A recent outing with her father and mentor resulted in another milestone of sorts for the long-hitting Rheagan.
For only the second time, the lowest score on the card belonged to the student.
"I've been trying to do that for a long, long time. I've only done it twice, so it was awesome," she said through a wide, brace-filled grin.
Before her trip to Augusta, Rheagan was presented a new golf bag by Lamar Mills, general manager of Cleveland Country Club. Afterward, her mother presented her with another surprise, a scrapbook filled with well-wishes for the competition signed by friends, family and a host of famous names from the world of the PGA, LPGA and other big-time sports.
Well-wishers included Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, who she watched hit the ceremonial first shot at last year's Masters. The list also had notes from Nancy Lopez, Annika Sorenstam, Phil Mickelson, Ricky Fowler, Michael Jordan, Brandt Snedeker, Tom Watson, Jason Dufner, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Pancake, Kari Webb and a host of others. The list totaled some 200 contributions from friends, family and celebrities from all walks of sports, business and politics.
The project was a secret kept from Rheagan by her mother, who presented her with the book after she received her CCC golf bag.
"I just wondered what I could do to make this a lifelong experience for her," said Karen. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She probably won't remember every drive, chip or put at Augusta, but this is something she will have the rest of her life to relieve the experience whenever she wants."
The list also included notes from Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Pat Summitt, Mike Krzyzewski, Shaquille O'Neal, Peyton Manning, Michael Jordan and Donald Trump.
This trip to Augusta is just the beginning of what promises to be a lifetime of impressive accomplishments for Rheagan. Who knows? By the time she reaches the professional level as a golfer, the Old Guard at Augusta National may decide it is time to have the LPGA Masters make the round through Amen Corner.
And maybe, just maybe, the name Rheagan Hall will be atop the leaderboard.