2 New Jersey teens participate in Drive, Chip and Putt golf tournament in Augusta
The world-famous Masters golf tournament is ongoing. But before the tournament teed off, kids from across the country took part in a drive, chip and putt competition.
After difficult qualifiers and an 18-month delay because of COVID-19, the drive, chip and putt tournament returned to Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. The event gave two teenagers from New Jersey a chance to showcase their skills at one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world.
“It makes you want to play the full course. It’s a lot more hilly than you think. It’s a lot tougher, the greens are smaller, but it’s really just perfect,” says Basking Ridge native Lance Hollingshead.
Hollingshead finished in third place in the boys 14-15 age group. It was his second appearance at the tournament.
“I was able to know what to expect and what to do more. I was more comfortable in the situation and just the nerves were a little more this time knowing what’s on the line more than when I was younger,” he says.
It was West Orange native Samantha Galantini’s first trip to Augusta. The 15-year-old tried qualifying for the competition every year since she was 7 and finally made it on her last attempt.
“Going into it, I was like, if I get first or last place, I don’t really care because I already won getting there and just doing the competition,” she says. “I was trying my best in each category and I was just like, ‘whatever happens, happens.’”
Galantini finished sixth place in the girl’s 14-15 age group and says it was an unforgettable experience.
“It just makes me feel amazing for this opportunity I have and that Drive, Chip and Putt provided this opportunity for kids like me to be able to get all the way to Augusta,” she says.
Both Galantini and Hollingshead play on their high school golf teams and both say they hope to play professionally in the future.