83rd Annual NCGA Junior Championship
Spyglass Hill GC
July 2-3, 2012
July 3, 2012
PEBBLE BEACH – The final round of the 2012 NCGA Junior Championship provided plenty of competitive golf as both the boys and girls winners came down to a single shot. Taylor Bromley of Dublin, the overall boys winner needed a sudden-death playoff with Corey Pereira to win the title, while Lauren Kim edged out fellow 18-hole co-leader Nancy Xu by one stroke.
Bromley, who held the 36-hole lead going into the day, posted a very nice 71, 1-under par, to go along with his solid rounds of 72 and 71 to finish at a 54-hole score of 214. However, fellow-competitor Pereira, who was paired in the final group with Bromley and came into the day one shot back, posted a 2-under par 70 to also finish at 214.
The playoff began on the par-4 10th hole and both players hit nearly identical drives hitting through the fairway landing in the right rough about 125 yards out. Pereira, who was literally no more than 10 feet behind Bromley’s ball went first, which proved to be a huge advantage in Bromley’s favor. Pereira hit what looked like a fine shot landing just past the flag, but coming out of the rough his ball got no spin and ended up 60 feet past the hole on the back of the green. Seeing that, Bromley landed his ball on the front of the green below the hole and the ball skimmed by the cup—nearly going in—ending up eight feet past the hole. After Pereira hit a decent lag putt to a few feet, Bromley confidently made his eight foot birdie putt to win the playoff outright.
“It definitely helped me out a lot [to see Corey hit the approach shot first], it showed me that the green was really firm and that I needed to land it short of the hole,” said Bromley.
Despite losing in the playoff, Pereira earned first place honors in the boys 16-18 division with his 54-hole total of 214. Earning second place was Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley, who also posted a final round 2-under 70, finishing at 215, one-shot out of the playoff. Justin Pagila of Dublin earned third place finishing at 218, tied for fourth place overall.
The girls division turned out closer than it looked as Kim of Los Altos led most of the day, but held on in the end to win. Kim and Xu matched each other with pars on their opening five holes off the back nine, but a double-bogey by Xu on the par-3 15th after hitting her tee shot in the water, got her off track as she followed with bogeys on 16, 17 and 18. Xu cut the lead briefly to one stroke after she made consecutive birdies on the third and fourth holes, but lost it right back with bogeys on Nos. five and seven. With a three-stroke advantage going into the 36th hole, Kim struggled making a double-bogey-6, but it was enough to come away with a one-stroke victory.
“My putting was really strong yesterday, so I definitely wanted to keep that consistent going into today’s round,” explained Kim of her final round game plan.
Kim was the only girl to break the 150 barrier posting a two-day total of 149 with rounds of 73 and 76. Xu of Sunnyvale earned second with rounds of 73 and 77 to finish at 150. Coming from behind to finish third, starting the day in a three-way tie for sixth, was Alameda’s Carly Childs who finished at 152 with rounds of 77 and 75.
Bromley, 18, and Kim, 17, both recently graduated high school, but will be sticking around close to home as the two will both be playing collegiate golf in the South Bay. Kim will be attending Stanford University and she looks forward to being a part of team and soaking in the college atmosphere. Bromley will be playing for San Jose State University and is excited to play college golf, but also other NCGA events.
In the boys 14-15 division Jacob Solomon of Dublin ran away with the win after a final round 70 to finish tied for fourth overall at 218. Solomon, 15, who is an incoming sophomore at Dublin High School, said he felt very comfortable with the lead as he has been playing with a lot of confidence lately. “All three rounds I was hitting the ball well, but today I finally made some putts,” he said. Second place in the division went to Danville’s Joshua McCarthy, who finished 11 strokes behind at a 229 total, with rounds of 81, 72 and 76. Third place went to Robert Briggs of Novato with a 230 aggregate after rounds of 74, 75 and 81.
In the boys 13 and under division Ashkaan Hakim of San Ramon matched his first round 71 with another on Tuesday to finish at 142, 2-under par and win by nine strokes. Hakim attributed his play to smart golf course management. “I aimed at the [flag] on the scoring holes where I had wedges in, and on the other holes I just aimed for the middle of the green,” said the soon-to-be eighth grader. Finishing in second was last year’s boys 13 and under winner Eddy Lai of San Jose at 151. In third was Drake Mendenhall of Granite Bay at 161.
July 2, 2012
PEBBLE BEACH – Taylor Bromley of Dublin is atop the boys 16-18 leaderboard at the NCGA Junior Championship, posting the only 36-hole under-par score, 143. Bromley opened with an even-par 72 in the morning, which included four birdies and four bogeys. In the afternoon, he again converted four birdies, but lessened his mistakes only relinquishing three bogeys to post a 1-under par 71. He holds a one-shot advantage over defending NCGA Junior champion Michael Grenz of Sloughhouse and Corey Pereira of Cameron Park at even-par 144.
Grenz’s showed great consistency in his rounds as he posted two rounds of even-par 72. In his morning round he scored better making four birdies, but equally made more mistakes taking two bogeys and a double-bogey-5 on the par-3 third. His afternoon round was much more steady as he started with seven pars and finished with seven pars with two bogeys and two birdies falling in between.
In order to defend his title Grenz knows he will need to putt better than he did today, however he feels confident about going into tomorrow having been in this situation only a year ago. “I just need to play my game and not think about anything else,” said Grenz, who would be the first defending champion for the boys division since Tom Johnson in 1998 and 1999.
Pereira held a share of the 18-hole lead after an opening round of 2-under par 70. His morning round included six birdies, four of those coming on the back nine for a 33. However, the afternoon proved to be a different story as the Cameron Park resident posted a 2-over par 74, which included four bogeys and two birdies.
Not far behind is a trio of players at 1-over par 145: Andrej Bevins, Sebastian Crampton and Maverick McNealy. Bevins of Elk Grove held the 18-hole lead with Pereira as he opened with a 2-under par 70, which included four birdies and two bogeys. In the afternoon Bevins got off to a rough start bogeying three of his first four holes on his way to a 75, 3-over par. Pacific Grove’s Crampton opened with a 39 for his first nine, but made up some ground with his next three with scores of 34, 37 and 35. McNealy of Portola Valley shot the low round of the day as he followed his morning round of 76 with a 3-under par 69, which included seven birdies.
The boys 14-15 division is led by Jacob Solomon of Dublin, who posted rounds of 76 and 72 for a 36-hole score of 148. He is closely followed by Novato’s Robert Briggs at 149, who fired rounds of 75 and 74, respectively. The cut for the boys 16-18 division came at 153 (low 24 and ties), while the cut for the boys 14-15 division came at 160 (low 12 and ties).
Lauren Kim and Nancy Xu led the way in the girls division after both players posted rounds of 73, 1-over par. Xu of Sunnyvale set the bar early as her group was the first out in the girls division at 8:50 a.m. The 15 year-old opened with a 37 on the front nine and came in with an even-par 36 on the back nine. Xu made three birdies on the day, none more impressive than the birdie-3 on the par-4 16th, which played a full-stroke over par and ranked second toughest for the girls. Xu looked to be going into Tuesday with the outright lead, until the final group of girls came in featuring Kim.
Kim of Los Altos was a par machine on Monday as she made 15 on the day to go along with two bogeys and one birdie. After opening with four straight pars Kim made birdie on the fifth, but bogeyed the sixth. The 17 year-old then closed out the front nine with a bogey-5 on the par-4 ninth before making nine consecutive pars on the back nine.
“My putting was definitely the highlight of my game today, I made a lot of up-and-downs,” explained Kim, who hit only nine out of 18 greens in regulation.
Kim, who will be attending Stanford University next year on a golf scholarship, has been playing a lot of golf lately and been doing so quite well. Last week during the 2012 California Girls State Championship played 103 holes of golf in a three day period, including 42 holes on the final day Friday. Kim, who made it to the match play final of that event, played back-to-back long rounds winning her semifinal match in 19 holes before losing in the final match to Kathleen Scavo in 23 holes. She hopes to continue up her solid play of late and thinks she should be able to going into tomorrow’s round.
“I just need to continue to play consistently and stay focused,” said Kim. “Hopefully I’m able to do that and I can come out on top.”
Close behind the two first round co-leaders are Mabel Wong of Oakdale and Chloe Corriveau of Pebble Beach, who each posted rounds of 75, 3-over par. They will join Kim and Xu in the Tuesday’s final girls pairing at 8:50 a.m. off No. 10 tee. Alone in fifth is Kimberley Lui of San Ramon after an opening round of 76, 4-over par. Defending champion Clare Sorensen of Roseville posted a round of 78, 6-over par to find herself in a three-way tie for sixth place with Carly Childs of Alameda and Pleasanton’s Alexandra Sborov.
In the boys 13 and under division Ashkaan Hakim of San Ramon leads the way after an impressive 1-under, 71. Hakim holds a five-shot lead over Eddy Lai of San Jose, who posted a 76, 4-over par. Hakim started his day off with a bogey on the 10th, but quickly refocused and made back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12. A bogey on the tough par-4 16th didn’t deter the 13 year-old as he closed out his front nine with a bogey on No. 18. Consecutive bogeys on the third and fourth hole didn’t seem to be much of a bother either as Hakim would finish strong with birdies at Nos. seven and nine to return to red numbers. The eight player division will have its two groupings tee off the 10th tee at 9:00 a.m. and 9:10 a.m.
The girls division will be teeing off the 10th tee Tuesday between 7:30 and 8:50 a.m. The boys 14-18 division will tee off the first hole from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
NCGA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW
June 29, 2012
PEBBLE BEACH – Thirty summers ago, the NCGA made a groundbreaking change to its popular NCGA Junior Championship. Only two years prior, the NCGA had celebrated the championship’s golden anniversary of existence as it was first held in 1930, but it still had one matter of business to take care of: Add a championship division for girls.
So, in 1982, the final year the Junior Championship was played as a match play format, a girls division was held for 54 holes of stroke play, which was won by Karen Zielenski with a score of 246 at Lake Merced GC. As the boys division transitioned over to stroke play, both the girls and boys would play 54 holes of stroke play before a change was made in 1985. That year, the girls division would be reduced to a 36-hole format, while the boys would remain a 54-hole event, the same two formats, which are used today.
The girls division will be played for the 31st time this year and there have been a total of 29 champions in that time. Clare Sorensen, the 2011 champion, will try to become only the second two-time and back-to-back champion in history, when she tees off Spyglass Hill’s first hole at 9:20 a.m. Monday. The last and only person to do so was Jamille Jose, who won back-to-back years in 1988 and 1989.
Jose, who now goes by her married surname Lee, remembers playing in NCGA events with great fondness. She won her NCGA Junior titles with 36-hole scores of 154 and 151 at Lake Merced GC and recalls playing exceptionally well during that time in her life as she also won the U.S. Girls’ Junior in 1988.
“Going into the 1989 championship I was just carrying over a lot of confidence from the previous year,” she said.
Lee was able to make the most out of her golfing ability by getting a scholarship to Stanford University, where she competed for the Cardinal all four years during college. Receiving a great education, Lee didn’t immediately consider playing professionally and instead went out and got a job as an analyst in investment banking. After a few years, Lee got sick of everyday grind of a full-time job and decided to try to qualify for the LPGA Tour. Although she was unsuccessful in qualifying, Lee gained something much more valuable as that’s where she met her husband.
These days Lee enjoys working as a nurse as she recently received her Master’s degree in anesthesia or spending time with her two girls ages seven and nine. The former champion hasn’t exposed her kids too much to golf yet as she thinks they’re a little young for it, but having just joined Green Valley Country Club in Fairfield with her husband after a few year hiatus from golf, she is likely to begin exposing them more.
Lee doesn’t believe that she’ll be the only one ever to hold the title of back-to-back champion. With the girls’ game having grown so much over the years and technology improving she believes it’s bound to happen.
In the boys division, Michael Grenz, the 2011 boys champion, will also have the opportunity to defend his title and become the first boys champion to do so since Tom Johnson won back-to-back years in 1998 and 1999. Grenz tees off the 10th tee for his first 18 holes at 7:50 a.m. and at 1:50 p.m. off the first tee for his afternoon round Monday.