EVANS, Ga. – When Briana Chacon arrives at Amen Corner, whether it be during Friday’s practice round for the Augusta National Women’s Amateur or also in Saturday’s final round, don’t be surprised if she reaches into her right front pocket.
The Oregon senior from Whittier, California, never plays a round of golf without her charm keychain of San Francisco Javier, or St. Francis Xavier in English.
The saint is venerated, especially in the Chacon family’s native Mexico, as a maker of miracles. A reclining statue of Javier lies inside the Church of Santa Maria Magdalena in Sonora, Mexico, and is said to be miraculous itself and visited by many in the region and beyond every year.
When Chacon’s parents were struggling to get pregnant, they prayed to Javier. Briana was born on Oct. 4, 2001, a day that coincides with the celebration for Javier, the Fiestas de San Francisco Javier, a 10-day festival in Magdalena that attracts thousands. On the night of Oct. 3, crowds gather outside the church and sing “Happy Birthday” to Javier. The next day is the saint’s day, the highlight of the festival.
Chacon was gifted her Javier charm by her mother, who had it passed down from her dad.
“I always keep it every close to my heart,” Chacon said. “It’s a reminder that there is always a higher power with me at all times, especially on the course. I just like to keep it there and know it’s there, and it gives me a sense of peace.”
Chacon looked at peace in Wednesday’s opening round of the ANWA, as she shot 1-under 71 with an eagle on the par-5 third hole and three birdies. She is trying to make her first ANWA cut after missing Saturday’s round last year at Augusta National.