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Two N.C. juniors to compete in Masters Drive, Chip and Putt event

Akshay Bhatia will compete in the Inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt competition at Augusta National.
Akshay Bhatia will compete in the Inaugural Drive, Chip & Putt competition at Augusta National.
Contributed photo

Jack Massei and Akshay Bhatia recently earned invitations to Augusta National Golf Club to compete in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt Championship.

Massei and Bhatia are among 88 junior golfers to play in the inaugural event, which will held Sunday before the Masters and will be televised by the Golf Channel.

“I first found about the skills championship when my brother saw the announcement during last year’s coverage of The Masters on the Golf Channel,” Massei said. “I am so excited to now have earned the opportunity to play inside those ropes and putt on those greens after having attended as a spectator the last two years.”

Massei, 14, of Cary, will compete in the 14- to 15-year-old division, and Bhatia, 12, of Wake Forest, will compete in the 12- to 13-year-old category. Both will represent the Middle Atlantic region in the finals after victories at local and regional qualifying events.

“Having worked in the golf industry for over 20 years, I understand the uniqueness of the collaboration between the USGA, PGA and Masters Foundation and the opportunity it presents for my son and 87 of his peers,” said Massei's father, Matt, general manager at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary. “Coupled with the putting portion of the competition being held on the 18th green of Augusta, seven days prior to the crowning of the 2014 Masters champion, his participation will be one of the most memorable highlights of his life.”

The junior skills competition is open to boys and girls from 7-15 years old.

J. Eric Eckard writes about all things golf on his second golfer blog. You also can follow him on Twitter.