As Matt Camel ’18 lined up his putt on the 18th green at Augusta National Golf Club — patrons filling the surrounding grandstands, cameras documenting his every move — he felt like he was playing in the Masters.
And how can you blame him, really?
Earlier that day — a Sunday in April — he made the drive down famed Magnolia Lane to reach the clubhouse. He warmed up on the practice range in between Masters-winner Fred Couples and cigar-smoking Miguel Angel Jimenez. He shook hands with last year’s U.S. Open champion, Martin Kaymer. And he chatted briefly with Golf Channel-personality Charlie Rymer.
It wasn’t the Masters, in actuality, but it may have been the next-best thing: The 2nd annual Drive, Chip & Putt Championship — held on the eve of golf’s first major on the storied grounds of Augusta National Golf Club, in Augusta, Ga.
Camel was one of 10 boys to qualify for the national finals of the 14–15 age bracket, maneuvering through local and regional qualifiers at The Apawamis Club, Eisenhower Park, and Bethpage State Park last summer.
And now he has memories that will last forever.
“Hearing my name announced to the galleries gathered outside the ropes, then seeing my face on the scoreboard adjacent to the 18th green, I couldn’t help but think I was living every kid’s dream,” said Camel, a freshman on the varsity golf team.
“I competed on golf’s biggest stage — putted from the very spot where Adam Scott and so many others secured their places in Masters history.”
Ultimately, Camel finished fifth in his division, but he didn’t come back to Brunswick empty handed, winning the driving portion of the competition with a 281-yard, dead-center blast.
He hopes to return to Augusta next April — in his final year of eligibility — for the Drive, Chip & Putt.
“I’m going to work as hard as I can to get back there,” Camel said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But I’d die to do it again.”