Playing in the High School Golf National Invitational at the Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina, has been a dream for Leavitt’s Jade Haylock.
She earned the invite by winning the Class B individual girls state championship last fall.
“I have been wanting to win (a state championship) and move onto Pinehurst since the sixth grade. It was my dream,” Haylock said.
Haylock was one of 72 players from the Class of 2025 in the 224-player field. The tournament took place June 27-29 on Pinehurst’s No. 1, No. 6 and No. 9 courses. Haylock, a Hartford resident who will be a sophomore at Leavitt Area High School this fall, finished 119th shooting 38-over par.
She started the tournament with an 86 on the No. 1 course on June 27, and followed that with back-to-back 83s the next two days.
She said she had adjust to the slow greens at Pinehurst in her first round.
After four double-bogeys or more in that first round, Jade mostly kept the big numbers off the board in the second and third rounds. She had one double in her second round and one triple bogey in the third round.
“My drives started straightening out,” Jade said. “I struggled keeping my drives in the fairway (in the first round). I went out of bounds twice on one hole — I took a (quadruple-bogey nine) on a par-5. I was able to get on the (driving) range and straighten things out, and that helped lower my score.”
Jade entered the tournament with some familiarity with the courses because her older sister, Ruby, played in the High School Golf National Invitational last year after winning the Class B individual girls state championship in 2020.
Jade and Ruby’s father, and Leavitt golf coach, Harry Haylock, said Jade picks up things from Ruby that can help her performance.
“I think not only this tournament, but all the years of tournament participation we had with Ruby helps Jade,” Harry said. “She understands the prep time it takes prior to the tournament and the commitment to the driving range, the practice rounds, the chipping and putting. She understands what it takes to perform at that level. Then get a good night’s rest, and get on the course on time to go through the routines. She understands all that is going on.”
Jade hopes she has the opportunity to return to Pinehurst to play against other state’s high school champions. There were 34 states represented at this year’s tournament.
“It’s awesome to see what I am capable of doing; if I work hard at golf, I could be a girl who wins this when I am older,” Jade said. “It’s great to see how hard these girls are working and watching it pay off for them.”
Jennifer Seo of Arizona won the three-day tournament with a score of 3-under.
Jade has seen improvements in her own game since her state championship win last October. She said she has gained 20-25 yards off the tee and credited the newfound distance to strength she added since the fall.
“I have gotten a lot more stronger,” Jade said. “I was a part of the Nordic ski team over the winter at (Leavitt). So, working hard in that and running track (in the spring) has made me a lot stronger — I have hit the ball a lot farther.”
According to Harry Haylock, Jade is moving the ball in different directions off the tee really well.
He said that Jade is on the same developmental curve as her older sister.
“I am interested in seeing what happens at the (Maine) Women’s Amateur, not only this year but next year,” Harry said. “Ruby won it at 15 years old and Jade just turned 15. This year and next year will be a good barometer of how she stacks up with a similar field. I would say, this year, she will be in the top-10, maybe top-5. You never know what can happen.”
The week before the High School Golf National Invitational, Jade and Ruby played in the New England Women’s Amateur at the Country Club of Vermont in Waterbury Center, Vermont, from July 20-22. Jade finished a tie in 19th, shooting 38-over. Ruby finished in 16th, shooting 37-over.
Harry, who caddied for Jade during the New England Amateur, said the conditions were difficult, with wind and faster greens.
“That was a challenging track, and the level of competition is higher than what (Jade) is used to here in Maine,” Harry said. “Especially that first day, she stepped up playing the course (shooting an 81) … definitely, the wind makes a difference on that hilly course. Sometimes you had (at least) a 25-, 30-yard elevation (change). When the ball is in the air for a long period of time, you need to be accurate with club selection. The speed of the greens is a lot different than what we have in Maine.”
Jade said that the past few weeks of big tournaments have been fun.
“I thought I would be burnt out and tired from golf, but I haven’t been,” Jade said. “It has been a great experience and I have loved every minute of it.”
Mild springlike day brings out central Maine golfers to tee up early