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NORTON, Massachusetts – Belmont native Phoebe Chamian (Nashawtuc CC) said that she’s always dreamed of playing golf at Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. And for the next three days, she’ll get the chance to play on its hallowed grounds, alongside a fellow Mass Golfer.
Chamian will join Worcester’s Mia Dang (The Haven CC) as Massachusetts representatives competing in the Girls’ National High School Golf Invitational taking place Wednesday-Friday at the prestigious Pinehurst Resort. Winchester’s Christine Mandile (Winchester CC), an incoming first year for the University of Richmond, was also entered but withdrew due to a schedule conflict.
The invite-only tournament field will consist of the top high school golfers across the country competing in a 54-hole stroke-play format with team and individual competitions. Competition rounds will take place on Pinehurst’s No. 6, No. 8, and No. 9 courses.
“I always had big dreams, and to be able to make it here, it’s so crazy,” said Chamian, a rising senior at Belmont High School. “I love golf more than anything so it’s a dream. I’m just going to play my own game and see if I do well, and have fun with it.”
There were two criteria for qualifying this year. One was based on first-place teams and individuals from their state’s most recent high school championship. Due to COVID-19’s cancelation of the 2020 spring season and its effect on the fall 2021 season, application-based entries were also awarded based on merit. In total, 39 of the 50 states will be represented.
Chamian plays for the Belmont High School co-ed golf team, but she hasn’t competed in a true girls’ state championship since June 2019.
Here’s how each Massachusetts player qualified:
(From left: Phoebe Chamian & Mia Dang, David Colt, file)
Chamian, 17, will play in several national events this summer, something she hopes will boost her chances of being recruited. After Pinehurst, she’ll play in the IMG Junior Worlds at Bernardo Heights Country Club in San Diego and then fly back for another national tournament in Florida.
“To get my name out there a little more will be helpful,” Chamian said. “I’ll be able to compete in bigger fields and see where I stand.”
Dang, 16, transferred to Woodstock after St. Peter Marian High School in Worcester closed last year. At her new school, she played goaltender for the girls hockey team and emerged as the leader for the girls golf team. Dang, however, has experience at Pinehurst, playing there as well as Hilton Head through US Kids Golf events over the years. Now that she’s older, Dang said she’ll be able to soak in the memories better.
“It feels amazing now,” Dang said. “I feel like I’ll remember it better this time, now that I understand tournament styles and have made more friends.”
This week, Dang said her goal this week is to shoot below 80 during one of the rounds. She last shot 80 during this year’s state championship, but she says she’s confident with improvements in her game.
“This year was the best year,” Dang said. “My mental game is stronger. My driver’s more consistent. I just have to work on iron play and approach shots.”
In addition to this week’s girls’ invitational, 17 Massachusetts natives will play in the Boys’ National High School Golf Invitational from June 28-30 at Pinehurst. A separate preview of the boys’ championship will be posted at a later date.
As this year’s National Invitational takes place, qualifying for next year’s Invitational will be taking place back in the Bay State. On Wednesday, 32 girls from across the Bay State will compete in a one-day tournament at The Ridge Club in Sandwich. Top-performing individuals from that event will advance to the 2022 Girls’ National High School Golf Invitational.
Mass Golf is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to advancing golf in Massachusetts by building an engaged community around the sport. Made up of 90,000 golfers statewide, Mass Golf is one of the largest state golf associations in the country. Presently, more than two-thirds of the 360-member clubs are public-access facilities, while nearly one-half of member golfers are enrolled at public facilities. Mass Golf offers its member’s services including handicapping, event access, youth programming and exciting golf content.