Sport - Golf - Maya Palanza Gaudin
Maya alongside 2015 Masters Champion Jordan Speith Image Credit: Twitter @DriveChipPutt

Abu Dhabi based Maya Palanza Gaudin has claimed the Girls 12-13 Division at Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals.

Maya who is a U.S citizen, has lived in Abu Dhabi for the past 11 years. After being adopted from Ethiopia as a new-born following the passing of her mother, Stephen and Cassandra Gaudin brought up Maya in Yemen, Austria, and then the UAE which is where she was introduced to the game of golf aged just five.

A member of the Emirates Golf Federation, Maya regularly competes in junior golf competitions across the UAE as well as internationally. Being a member of Yas Links and Saadiyat Beach Golf Club while also being coached by Yasin Ali at JA The Resort, Jebel Ali it’s no wonder Maya has had such a successful amateur career in the game.

This being her fourth attempt at the Drive, Chip and Putt, Gaudin punched her ticket to Augusta National in the regional final at TPC Boston in Norton Massachusetts.

There were eight categories at the finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt at Augusta National, 40 boys and 40 girls competing:

Boys categories: 7-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15
Girls categories: 7-9, 10-11, 12-13 (Maya’s Category), 14-15

All compete in all three skills (Drive, Chip and Putt) and hit three shots per skill for a total of nine shots. Points are accumulated per shot at each skill. The overall champion in each division is determined by the participant with the most points accumulated between all three skills.

Maya’s Drive:

Maya’s Winning Putt:

Maya fantastically came out on top of her division, Girls 12-13. Along the way she had a helping hand of her jitters from her father, Stephen, who kept his daughter calm by quizzing her on Harry Potter.

“I can’t believe it,” said Gaudin, who made it the National Finals on her sixth attempt. “Just coming here was surreal, and then winning is on a whole other level.”

Hear from Maya:

Maya has even received some congratulatory messages from DP World Tour members, Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood

Maya is a true testament to the UAE’s commitment and support to developing Women’s Sports for the Nation, especially in the sport of golf.

Final Results:

7 – 9 years: Knox Mason (22 points)
10 – 11 years: Neal Manutai (23 points)
12 – 13 years: Leo Saito (21 points)
14 – 15 years: Jake Sheffield (22 points)

Sport - Golf - 2023 Drive, Chip & Putt
2023 Drive, Chip and Putt winners Image Credit: Twitter @DriveChipPutt

7 – 9 years: Ashley Kim (23 points)
10 – 11 years: Alexandra Phung (22 points)
12 – 13 years: Maya Palanza Gaudin (26 points)
14 – 15 years: Martha Kuwahara (24 points)