AUGUSTA, Ga. — Most junior golfers dream of qualifying once for the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals. But most junior golfers aren’t Nolan Haynes.
Sunday's competition was the third trip to Augusta National for Haynes, who also qualified in 2014 and 2016.
“It’s amazing to be here,” said Haynes, 14. “My main goal was to qualify but I’m still disappointed that I didn't do better today. I really thought I’d do better than I did.”
Haynes of Barberton tied for eighth overall out of 10 competitors in the 14-15 age division.
With a steady rain falling over Augusta National, Haynes missed the fairway on both of his drive attempts, before rallying to finish third in the chipping competition. He placed seventh in putting.
“Missing both of those drives was really disappointing, but I knew I had to regroup quick,” Haynes said. “I’ve been practicing a lot on chips at [Chippewa Golf Club] so I was pretty confident in that event.”
At the awards ceremony, Haynes had the chance to meet Sergio Garcia, winner of the 2017 Masters Tournament. It was the first encounter between the two and Haynes made a point to speak.
“I told him, ‘Good luck this week,’ ” Haynes said. “He goes, ‘Aw, thank you.’ So, yeah, that was pretty cool to meet Sergio.”
Next year will be Haynes’ final year of eligibility for the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals, and after qualifying three previous times, he hopes the fourth time is the charm.
“I’d love to make it back one more time,” he said. “And if I do, I hope to win it.”