Playing in the High School Golf National Invitational at Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina was a dream for Jade Haylock of Leavitt.
She earned the invite by winning the Class B Individual Women’s State Championship last fall.
“I wanted to win (a state championship) and move to Pinehurst since sixth grade. It was my dream,” Haylock said.
Haylock was one of 72 players from the Class of 2025 in the pool of 224 players. The tournament was held June 27-29 at 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 straight 83s the next two days.
She said she adapted to the slow greens of Pinehurst on her first round.
After four or more double bogeys in that first round, Jade mostly kept the big numbers off the board in rounds two and three. She had a double in her second round and a triple bogey in the third round.
“My workouts started to pick up,” Ruby said. “I struggled to keep my drives in the fairway (in the first round). I went out of bounds twice on a hole – took a (quadruple bogey nine) on a par-5. I was able to get on the practice range and work things out, and that helped lower my score.
Jade came into 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 2020 Class B Women’s Individual State Championship.
Jade and Ruby’s father, and Leavitt’s golf coach, Harry Haylock, said Jade picks up things from Ruby that can help her perform.
“I think not only this tournament, but all the years of tournament play we’ve had with Ruby helps Jade,” Harry said. “She understands the preparation time it takes before the tournament and the commitment to the driving range, practice rounds, chipping and putting. She understands what it takes to perform at that level. Then rest Get well and get to the course in time to do the routines, she understands everything that’s going on.
Jade hopes to have the opportunity to return to Pinehurst to play against high school champions from other states. There were 34 states represented at this year’s tournament.
“It’s great to see what I can do; if I work hard at golf, I could be a winning girl when I get older,” Jade said. “It’s great to see how hard these girls work and to see it paying off.”
Arizona’s Jennifer Seo won the three-day tournament with a score of 3 under.
Jade has seen improvements in her own game since winning the state championship last October. She said she gained 20 to 25 yards from the tee and attributed the new distance to the force she has added since the fall.
“I got a lot stronger,” Jade said. “I was part of the Nordic ski team during the winter in (Leavitt). So working hard in that area and the running track (in the spring) made me a lot stronger – I hit the ball a lot further.
According to Harry Haylock, Jade moves the ball very well in different directions from the tee.
He said Jade is on the same development curve as her older sister.
“I’m interested in seeing what happens at (Maine) Women’s Amateur, not just this year but next year,” Harry said. “Ruby won it at 15 and Jade just turned 15. This year and next year will be a good barometer of how she compares to a similar field. I would say this year she will be in 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, July 20-22. Jade finished tied for 19th, shooting 38 times. Ruby finished 16th, shooting 37 times.
Harry, who caddyed for Jade at the New England Amateur, said the conditions were tough, with wind and faster greens.
“It was a tough 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 the course (shooting an 81)…definitely the wind makes a difference on this hilly course. Sometimes you had (at least) an elevation of 25, 30 meters (change). When the ball is in the air for a long time, you need to be precise in club selection. The speed of the greens is very different from what we have in Maine.
Jade said the last few weeks of big tournaments have been fun.
“I thought I would be exhausted and tired from golf, but I’m not,” Jade said. “It was a great experience and I loved every minute of it.”
Par for the Course: Summer golf for high school teams is here