Masters week started on April 2 with the annual Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National Golf Club.
Augusta National and Masters chairman Billy Payne welcomed the juniors participating at the welcome dinner by pointing to the history of past Masters participants like Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Jordan Spieth.
“And now, just as important, every one of you have become part of Augusta National legend,” Payne said. “Millions of kids watching will see you and say, ‘I can do that,’ and begin a lifelong affair with the game of golf.”
In 2017, eight AJGA players competed in the skills challenge featured live on the Golf Channel and earned two division titles:
Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Florida, became the first three-time national finalist and second-time division champion. In 2017, Pano received the Girls 12-13 Division trophy from Masters champion, AJGA alum and 2017 International Junior Presidents Cup team captain Trevor Immelman. Pano also won the Drive, Chip and Putt Girls 10-11 Division in 2016 and finished third in the Girls 7-9 Division in 2014. She appeared on Golf Channel with Steve Sands to discuss her experience on April 3. At 11 years old, Pano made history when she became the youngest golfer to ever play in an LPGA of Japan Tour event and a few months later, became the youngest player in modern times to win an AJGA title at 12 years, 11 days (2016 PDQ/Philadelphia Runner Junior).
Savannah Grewal of Mississauga, Ontario, received the Girls 14-15 Division trophy from Masters champion and AJGA alum Zach Johnson. Grewel won the driving competition at 248.5 yards, and is no stranger to competition at the highest level. She has played in eight AJGA tournaments, her best a tie for third at the 2016 Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Sugarloaf.
Other AJGA National Finalists included:
Girls 12 - 13
- Megha Ganne of Holmdel, New Jersey, finished in a tie for second. Ganne played in her first AJGA event in 2016.
Girls 14 - 15
- AJGA junior Mimi Chen of Longwood, Florida, finished runner-up in the Drive, Chip and Putt finals. Chen has played in 12 AJGA events since 2015 with eight top-10 finishes, was a 2016 ACDS Junior All-Star Team member and is currently No. 87 in the AJGA Rankings.
- Jackie Feldman of Austin, Texas, finished third and has competed in two AJGA events.
- AJGA juniors Megan Ahmadi of Westlake Village, California, (T5) and Leila Raines of Galena, Ohio (T8) also finished in the top 10.
Boys 12 - 13
- Evan Chien of Irvine, California, finished in a tie for fourth with a best drive of 276.9 yards.
Registration for the 2018 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship is open now.
Photos from the 2017 Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.