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Young Triangle golfers impress at Augusta

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14-year-old Jack Massei, of Cary, after competing in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals. 14-year-old Jack Massei, of Cary, after competing in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals.
AUGUSTA, Ga. -

A couple of young, local golfers had impressive showings this weekend in Augusta.

Jack Massei, 14, of Cary, and 12-year-old Akshay Bhatia, of Wake Forest, were two of only 88 junior golfers invited to compete in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship National Finals.

The event was held Sunday at the historic Augusta National Golf Club ahead of the start of the Masters.

Massei, an eighth grader at West Cary Middle School, finished tied for seventh in the Boys 14-15 age class. Akshay, who is the top ranked junior golfer in the state, finished sixth in the Boys 12-13 age class.

Akshay's father says he thinks this will be the first of many more trips to the Masters.

"He doesn't get intimidated," Sonny Bhatia said. "He's the number one junior golfer in the Carolinas, and I believe he's number four in the world right now, stats wise. So, he doesn't get intimidated."

Massei, who practices two hours a day, six days a week, said he hopes to play in college and then maybe the PGA. But until then, he tweeted out Sunday afternoon, "Best experience of my life."

About 17,000 young golfers had opportunities to earn entry into the competition, which began with local qualifying at courses across the country. The top finishers then advanced to one of 11 regional qualifiers.

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