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Headline: Three Bay State Juniors Enjoy a Masters Experience to Remember; Zach Colon, Brian Glennon and Gabrielle Shieh Reflect on Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals
For Immediate Release: April 10, 2017
|Three Bay Staters (all shown in green shirts and from top: Colon, Glennon & Shieh) enjoyed a 2017 Masters to remember.|
Norton, MA — The 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National may be remembered for Sergio Garcia’s first major victory in 74 tries, but for three Bay State junior players, the memory that will stick out most will be the chance of a lifetime that each had the Sunday before the Masters, when they competed at the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.
Not only were Zachary Colon, Brian Glennon and Gabrielle Shieh among the nation’s 80 top junior golfers who made their way to Augusta National, but they also made a name for themselves, placing first, third and fourth in their respective age divisions.
For the national finalist Colon, who competed in the Boys 12-13-year-old division and received his trophy from his favorite player, two-time Masters Champion Bubba Watson, winning his age bracket was particularly no easy task.
Colon, of Bolton and a member at The Haven Country Club, opened up his competition by driving his two shots to distances of 248.7 and 250.2 yards to net eight points in the first of the three areas of competition.
On his two chip shots, Colon came within 7 foot 5 inches of the cup on his first shot, and followed suit by narrowing the distance, taking his second shot to within five feet 10 inches for a chip aggregate measurement of 13 feet 3 inches, enough for eight more points in the scoring portion.
On the final third of the Drive, Chip and Putt competition, the Bay State native Colon holed the second putt of competition from 15 feet out on the 18th green to force a playoff with Charlotte, North Carolina’s Clinton Daly, who had tallied six points in the driving portion and nine points in both the chipping and putting portions of the competition.
Colon then won the playoff to earn his first Drive, Chip and Putt National title in his first trip to Augusta. He previously competed at the regional rounds three times prior and is the defending NEPGA Player of the Year for 12-13 year olds.
“It is indescribable,” says Colon a week after taking home the title. “It is one of the most amazing things I have ever accomplished. It really exceeded my goal of finishing in the top three at Augusta National.”
“This experience [has taught me] that anything is possible as long as you put your mind to it” added Colon.
Brian Glennon, of Hingham and a member at Cohasset Golf Club, garnered a total of 20 points, enough to finish behind only Mason Quagliata (Arizona) and Andrew Scholz (Kansas) in the Boys 14-15 division.
Glennon’s best drive measured at 248 yards, and his two chip shots (7’8” & 8’7”) measured for an aggregate score of 16' 3", which added seven points to his total score. In the putting section of the competition, the final skill measured by the DCP competition, Glennon’s second putt found the hole after his first shot came to rest 5’6” away from the hole – becoming one of only two competitors in the Boys 14-15 division to sink their shots.
"After my 30-foot putt, I had a good idea that I needed to make the 15-footer to have a chance at third place” said Glennon. “I had a really good read on the break. I knew the greens were really fast, so all I did was get the ball started on the right line. The ball did the rest of the work and it found the bottom of the cup.”
Glennon’s finish was impressive, considering his DCP Finals got off to a shaky start when his first drive went out of bounds.
“After hitting my first drive out on the right side, I was pretty upset. I was able to calm myself down and get rid of any nerves I had” recalled Glennon. “I didn't want to miss the fairway on both attempts, so I made sure that my alignment and ball position were correct. I was able to hit one of the best drives I've ever hit. I was so relieved.”
The trip to the National Finals for Glennon was his first. He hopes his experience against the nation’s top junior golfers will help him going forward in his golf career.
“My experience in visiting Augusta National for the Drive Chip and Putt National Finals was amazing” said Glennon. “After coming in third place, I will hopefully be able to take the confidence that I have gained into future tournaments. I hope the Augusta experience helps me handle pressure in future competitions in anything I do.”
The final Bay State competitor in the field, Carlisle’s Gabrielle Shieh (Marlborough Country Club) totaled 19 points across the three areas of competition to place fourth overall among the 10 competitors in the Girls 14-15 division.
Shieh began her round by tallying her best drive, a measured distance of 222.2 yards (worthy of 4 points) before upping her totals in both the chipping and putting skills area.
She improved greatly in her chipping, going from a distance of 10’5” to the cup on her first shot to within four feet of the cup on her second chip, measured at 3’7” for a chip aggregate score of 14 feet in total.
Her biggest achievement that came on Sunday, April 2 was her putting skills, as Shieh’s first putt came within 1’4” of the cup and her second to 3’6.” The nine points collected in the putting portion were the highest amongst the three competitors above her on the leaderboard.
“I think it was my practice and pre-shot routine that helped my putting the most” recalled Shieh. “Although I've never played on Augusta greens before, the amount of time I spent preparing for such fast speeds definitely helped after playing indoors for so long over the winter.”
She added, “My older sister really helped because she tried to create a similar situation while I was practicing by trying to put pressure on me. My pre-shot routine was also a big factor because it was a familiar routine that helped me calm down before my putt.”
After advancing to the sub-regional round in 2015, Shieh competed at the DCP National Finals for the first time in 2017.
“The Drive Chip and Putt was an amazing experience because I was able to compete with and against talented, hardworking golfers my age” said Shieh. “Participating in a high-profile, televised event helped me improve my game in many aspects including driving, chipping, and putting, as well as the mental side of competition. It also inspired me to improve my work ethic and practice harder.”
Gabrielle also said, “I would like to thank USGA, PGA, and Master tournament for putting on such a tournament for kids like me. I got to meet Secretary Condoleezza Rice, Mrs. Nancy Lopez, Mr. Michael Breed, Mrs. Suzy Whaley, who are my idol and role models. Their examples and encouragement makes me work harder than ever."
Following last Sunday’s National Final, the Drive Chip and Putt staff and volunteers won’t have much time off as the local qualifiers for next year’s tournament will begin in early May.
In Massachusetts alone, five clubs are set to host qualifiers in 2017, with The International GC (June 27), The Ranch GC (July 11), The Bay Club at Mattapoisett (July 11) and Granite Links GC (July 26) each hosting local qualifiers.
In addition, Pinehills Golf Club, site of the 2017 MGA Amateur Public Links Championship, will also host one of the 53 sub-regional qualifiers at their course on August 16.
Registration remains opens for all sites and is open, free of charge, to all boys and girls who are at least 7 years of age on Sunday, April 1, 2018, and may not be older than 15 years of age on Sunday, April 1, 2018. For more information on the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship or to view the list of qualifying sites, visit www.drivechipandputt.com.