14-year-old Durham Academy golf phenom to compete at Augusta


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Saia Rampersaud says the best thing about golf is meeting new friends. Socializing, though, may have to take a back seat on Sunday at the Masters.

“Well, I’m definitely going there to win,” the 14-year-old said. “I really want to win this.”

Saia will compete this weekend at the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals in Augusta. The Durham Academy eighth grader began playing golf six years ago. Her father provides the motivation.

“Ever since I can remember, I used to tag along with my dad when he came up here,” Saia said. “Eventually, I just started hitting the ball and loving it.”

Now she’ll get the chance to play at a venue few people can boast. For Saia, playing at Augusta National is a dream come true.

“I’m a little bit nervous because, obviously, it’s Augusta National where the Masters is played. Some of the greatest golfers on earth play there,” Saia said. “I’m just super excited to play where so many greats have played.”

Each contestant will hit three drives — three chip shots and one putt at the event. Distance and accuracy factory in to the final scoring tabulation.

“One that I’m most nervous about now is probably driving,” Saia said. “I know some of the girls that are competing and I know they’re really strong in their drives.”

If the butterflies begin to flutter, Saia has a method to calm the nerves.

“I look at the golf ball and just start counting the dimples,” Saia said. “That really calms me down.”

Who knows? It just might turn out to be the winning strategy.

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