Each year on Sunday before the Masters, junior golfers from all over the world converge on Augusta National Golf Club for the Drive Chip and Putt National Finals. Golfers in four different age brackets compete on the famous course to see who will take home the medals. This year, 25 AJGA members competed in the 12-13 and 14-15 age divisions. Those 25 junior golfers included three who won their divisions and another who finished runner up.
Matthew Vital of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, won the national division for boys ages 12-13 at the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. He used a putting tip from Golf Channel’s Peter Jacobson the previous evening, (keep your left ear still) while sinking a 30-foot putt on the No. 18 green.
“It’s really exciting,” said Vital, an eighth-grader at Lehigh Valley Academy who was quoted in The Morning Call. “A lot of people have come up to me saying congratulations, and I really appreciate that. Plus, it was on national TV. It will be fun to watch that in the future.”
"What I love most is going out to play with my friends..." -- Boys 12-13 winner, Matthew Vital pic.twitter.com/XdIqznwLmV— Drive, Chip & Putt (@DriveChipPutt) April 7, 2019
Treed Huang of Katy, Texas, earned his second title in the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. The 15-year-old who recently competed in the Sergio and Angela Garcia Foundation Junior Championship presented by Callaway Golf, won the boys 14-15 overall title for his second win in four appearances.
“I definitely learned from my first three experiences how the green rolled and everything, and I just knew I couldn’t get it past the hole,” said Treed, whose younger sister, Maye, also qualified for the National Finals this year, vying in the Girls 10-11 group.
Yana Wilson of Henderson, Nevada, won the girls 12-13 division of the National Finals. The 12-year-old has won more than 90 golf tournaments during her young career and is excited to add the 12-13 division title to her trophy shelf. When asked after she won about any tips for other golfers, Wilson had this to say.
"Just relax under all the pressure and have fun," Wilson said. "Just make sure you relax and loosen up."
Megha Ganne of Holmdel, New Jersey, finished runner-up in the Drive, Chip and Putt girls ages 12-15 division. The AJGA champion competed in her fourth event at Augusta National and tied for her previous best finish.
“It’s really about inspiring other people to pick up the game,” Ganne said when interviewed about the weekend. “That’s why this tournament was created. I really feel that. So many people started bringing their kids to my home course [after her first appearance in 2015], and saying, ‘We saw you; we want to try to do that.’ It’s amazing to think me and 79 other kids can influence someone to pick up a new sport. That’s really incredible.”