Photo: Nathan Drogin (r) receives congratulations from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (courtesy Drive, Chip & Putt Championship)

 

It was a strong showing for four New Jersey youngsters this past Sunday in the national finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National in Georgia. Two of the four locals, Megha Ganne of Holmdel and Nathan Drogin of Essex Fells, each finished as runners-up in their respective division.

 

Ganne, the 2018 NJSGA Junior Girls champion who attends Holmdel High School, competed in the DCP at the home of the Masters for the fourth time, this year in the Girls 14-15 Division. Drogin, who attends Newark Academy, was a first-time competitor in the Boys 14-15 Division.

 

Also, Rayhao Feng of Short Hills placed seventh in the Boys 7-9 Division and Mihir Roperia of Cranbury was eighth in the Boys 10-11 Division.

 

Ganne, 15, finished second in the drive portion, then won the chipping competition. But with her two putts on the 18th green of the iconic course, one from approximately 15 feet and one from 30 feet, she left the first 8 feet, 1 inch short, which actually eliminated her from having a chance to win the overall title.

 

“I didn’t have a chance after that,” she explained afterward, “so I figured (with my second putt), ‘I might as well make it.’ "

 

She did, but her overall effort in putting was good enough for only eighth place among the 10 finalists. When Nicole Gal of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, left her two putts 18 and 11 inches away, she was able to finish second in the putting competition, earn nine points and win the Girls 14-15 age division, one point ahead of Ganne, 23-22.

 

“I’m not disappointed at all,” Ganne said afterward. “I was super happy to be here. Through the years I think I’ve learned it’s all about inspiring others to take up the game."

 

Last summer, Drogin competed in the MGA Junior, the MGA Boys’ Championship, and the Carter Cup. In his DCP division, he was second in putting, fourth in driving and fifth in chipping for 22 points, four points behind champion Treed Huang of Katy, Texas.

 

“I’m really happy with how I performed,” said Drogin. “I was looking to soak in the whole experience, seeing the course and putting on the 18th green. I actually did better than I thought I would.

 

“I’ve been watching the Masters on TV for years and you can’t appreciate it on TV. Between the undulations of the course -- which was crazy -- and how beautiful everything is … it was just awesome,” Drogin added.

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