Lake Merced GC July 30-31, 2007
Sam Smith and Kristen Allard captured NCGA Junior Championships Tuesday at Lake Merced.
Smith, a 16-year-old rising junior at Turlock High School, maintained the lead he began the final round with (he was tied with defending champion Adam Ichikawa), firing a one-under-par 71 that featured a sterling back-nine 33. The one-over-par 217 total propelled him to a four-stoke win over Boys’ 14-15 flight winner Patrick Grimes. “I started shaky but I got it going on the back nine,” the champion said. “This gives me a confidence boost for the rest of the year.” Smith’s win breaks a recent trend of the overall champion coming from the younger age flight.
The Turlock GCC member’s schedule will only intensify in August as he attempts to qualify for the U.S. Amateur at Del Rio and play in AJGA Invitationals as well as the Ping Invitational. Mostly, the win gives Smith coveted exemptions into future NCGA events as well as the State Amateur. “My goal coming in was to win. I felt that my game was there.” Stanford is at the top of the champion’s list of colleges, and he hopes that adding his name to a trophy that features the likes of Ken Venturi and Johnny Miller opens that door.
A bogey on the 18th hole of regulation left Girls’ champion Kristen Allard in a tie with first-round leader Tessa The. “I thought I had lost when Tessa had a par – I did not know we had tied until we turned in our scores,” Allard stated. The champion and runner-up finished with two-round 159 totals.
The Monache High School senior prevailed in the one-hole playoff after striping her tee shot, making it clear that the champion was on her way to a win. Allard then placed her approach seven feet from the hole. Securing a par and the championship, the Portersville resident later stated it was the first time she had parred the hole in two days.
Coming off a win at the Charlie Culver Junior Tournament in Salinas, the champion had yet to see the course until her first round: “I used the first day to learn the course and today I just went for it.” Allard is considering San Jose State and Pepperdine but hopes to continue her goal of turning professional. Olivia Chang of San Lorenzo finished third with a two-day total of 159.
Taylor Travis of Fremont took the Boys’ 16-17 flight, winning in a playoff over Adam Ichikawa of Los Altos. Four golfers tied for third place.
Patrick Grimes, the Boys’ 14-15 flight champion, briefly flirted with the overall lead, but was unable to sustain momentum. Grimes’ impressive score was good for a 13-shot win in his flight over Adam Loran of San Jose.
In the Boys’ 12-13 flight, Carlos Briones of San Lorenzo came from three strokes behind in the final round, firing a one-over 73 for a 151 total and a four-shot win. After a two-hole playoff, Jonathan De Los Reyes of Antioch took second over first-round leader Bryson Dechambeau of Clovis.
Girls’ champion Kristen Allard, runner-up Tessa The and third-place
finisher Olivia Chang
Boys 16-17 flight winner Taylor Travis, runner-up Adam Ichikawa and
third-pace finisher Kyle Souza. (Not pictured: Justin Estrada, Martin
Trainer and Tyler Raber.
Boys 14-15 flight winner Patrick Grimes and runner-up Adam Loran.
(Not pictured: third-pace finisher Mark Wyllie).
Boys 12-13 flight winner Carlos Briones, runner-up Jonathan De Los
Reyes and third-pace finisher Bryson Dechambeau.