After a pair of near misses at U.S. Kids Golf World Championship qualifier meets, 9-year-old Colt Jeffress thought he’d have to miss the prestigious event this summer.

Not so fast.

Jeffress recently received a special invitation to the event, which will be held in Pinehurst, N.C., Aug. 2-4. He’ll tee off against 104 contestants from around the world in the nation’s largest junior tournament.

“(Colt) was shocked and excited” when he heard the news, his mother Jackie said. “I’m so nervous, but I’m excited too,” he told her.

The invite was “totally unexpected,” Jackie said. Colt had finished 1-under par in a superb showing at the San Angelo qualifier, but finished second. He ended up tied for fourth at the Dallas qualifier, against top competitors who were familiar with the course.

“We did not expect to go at all,” Jackie said. “We just didn’t make the cut.”

Colt, who recently celebrated his ninth birthday, will be competing against golfers from as far afield as Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan and Colombia.

The scale of the event will be new to Colt, in terms of both the number of golfers he’ll be up against and the holes he’ll be playing. To this point, he’s played in tournaments in which golfers shoot nine holes — but at the World Championships, players shoot the full 18.

His parents are focusing on endurance training with him by walking a full 18 holes, as Colt’s coaches work to fine-tune his swing.

While the tournament will be a totally new experience for the family, they’ll have a friend to greet them in North Carolina. Colt’s aunt lives at Pinehurst No. 7, while the tournament will be played at No. 3.

“It’s going to be a real good thing,” Jackie said, noting that Colt may get a chance to play a few rounds before the World Championships begin.

Until then, Colt will stay sharp by playing in a few more area tournaments — though none will be on the scale of August’s event.

“We feel so privileged to be a part of this tournament, and appreciate all the local support that Colt has been getting,” Jackie said.

Jeffress recently finished third at the 9th Annual Starburst Junior Golf Classic in Waco, one of the nation’s largest junior golf tournaments.