Simms Abney fired a bogey-free six-under 66 in the final round to win the 2018 E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship.
“It means a lot,” Abney said. “I played really well all week. I kept telling myself I was the strongest guy mentally in the field and kept that mindset. [I felt like] nothing could stop me. I played well the last 36 holes and pretty much dominated.”
Simms (-9), who is committed to play at Alabama, played his final 38 holes 11-under par. Ringgold, Ga. native Gavin Noble finished second at four-under par. The complete results can be found here.
EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) — Grovetown’s Andrew Chong won the 2017 E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship at Jones Creek Golf Club on Thursday.
Chong shot a final round 70 to win the tournament by one stroke at two-under par for his first American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) victory.
“[It’s] very special to me,” Chong said. “I grew up here. I grew up playing this course, so it’s very special to win [at] this venue.”
“It’s always exciting when a local kid can play well at a tournament here in town,” PGA Tour professional Vaughn Taylor said. “It gets everyone excited. It’s really special, and I’m really happy to see local kids play well.”
Macon’s Luke Dasher and India’s Saptak Talwar finished tied for second at one-under par.
Last year’s champion, Appling’s Alex Shead, finished tied for fifth at two-over, while Augusta’s Jay Beach finished tied for 18th.
For the full leaderboard, please click here.
On the ladies side, Florida’s Megan Schofill won the tournament, while Evans’ Madison Harwell finished tied for seventh.
EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) — There’s no place like home. Apparently that’s the case for a couple of area golfers climbing up the leaderboard at the E-Z-Go Vaughn Taylor Championship at Jones Creek Golf Club.
Alex Shead, Montgomery Harrison, and Colson Herrin are all home-schooled and play for the Augusta Eagles golf team, and they’re all playing in the VT Championship this week.
Shead has worked his way to the top of the leaderboard. He’s -2 overall after a 4-under 68 on Wednesday. He leads by 1 shot. Harrison, of Evans, is tied for 6th at +2. And Herrin is tied for 30th.
Here is a link to the Live Scoring.
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WJBF) — Austin Eckroat of Oklahoma took a 5-shot lead into the final round, but he would have to make a couple of clutch birdie putts late to finish off his victory in the 6th Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. The Oklahoma State commit made a big birdie putt on 15, then needed another one on 18 to secure a 1-shot win over Australia’s Min Woo Lee. Lee fired a final round 67 to nearly overcome a 9-shot deficit for the victory.
Duluth, Georgia’s Benjamin Hunt was in the hunt for most of the day Sunday, but he double bogeyed 15 and 17 and finished tied for 7th.
Here is the full release on Sunday’s final round from the PGA of America:
Graniteville, South Carolina (April 23, 2016) – Sometimes in life you have to read the fine print. Austin Eckroat of Edmond, Oklahoma, shot a final-round 75 to win the 2016 Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club by one shot over Min Woo Lee of Australia. Eckroat led wire-to-wire finishing with a three-day total of 210.
Don’t be deceived. Sunday was an epic struggle for the 17-year-old Oklahoma State verbal commitment, who edged Lee (211), John Axelsen of Sweden (third place, 213) and Davis Shore (fourth, 214) of Knoxville, Tennessee.
The leader by three and five strokes after the first two rounds, respectively, Eckroat started Saturday’s final round slowly. He knew early something was amiss. He double-bogeyed the first hole, his first double-square all week.
His was so off, he had more bogeys or double bogeys (three) within his initial seven holes than he had the first two rounds (2), combined.
“I really struggled off the tee,” said Eckroat. “I was hitting it left and my irons were going right. I had no idea what I was doing.”
Four consecutive pars on holes 8-11 steadied his ship, but only temporarily, as bogeys on No. 12 and 14 shaved his lead to a single shot.
He birdied the par-5 15th, getting up and down from just off the green (50 feet). “I knew I needed to make that [15-foot birdie] putt.”
At 16, Eckroat “pushed” his 4-foot bid for par.
“Then I heard the loud roar,” he said.
The roar was engineered by Lee, who snaked in “probably the best shot I’ve ever hit. It was a big 40-footer, down the hill, left-to-right, then right-to-left, a double-breaker. It just trickled in.”
Just like that, things were all square between Eckroat and Lee.
After routine pars on 17 for Eckroat and on 18 for Lee, it appeared extra holes might be in order.
Eckroat pushed his drive on 18 into the right rough. He was 235 yards out.
“I was thinking playoff,” admitted Eckroat, who pulled his 2-iron. “Whenever you have a 2-iron in hand, you are not thinking birdie.”
That mindset changed quickly when the 2-iron split the large green and rolled within 12 feet.
“I just totally forgot everything, swung and it worked,” said Eckroat of his second shot.
That left just the putt. Uphill, slightly right-to-left.
Eckroat walked it in. Just the third birdie of the day at No. 18 provided the 2015 Oklahoma Junior Champion with the greatest win of his burgeoning career.
Moments after his charge, which included eight birdies en route to a closing 67, had ended and his hopes for a playoff were dashed, the 17-year-old Lee was content with his effort and pleased for his friend.
“I am glad Austin made the birdie on the last hole. I’m happy for him.”
Asked about the week, his win and the experience, Eckroat smiled and offered, “this place [Sage Valley] is awesome, by far my favorite golf course.”
The 54-hole Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club is widely recognized as one of the premier junior tournaments in the world. The prestigious event attracts many of the game’s top-ranked junior golfers on an annual basis.
|Junior Invitational Champions||Paul S. Simon Character Award Recipients|
|2016||Austin Eckroat, Edmond, Okla.||Cooper Dossey, Austin, Tex.|
|2015||Marcus Kinhult, Sweden||Philip Barbaree, Shreveport, La.|
|2014||Scottie Scheffler, Dallas, Tex.||Cameron Champ, Sacramento, Calif.|
|2013||Carson Young, Pendleton, S.C.||Michael Pisciotta, Alpharetta, Ga.|
|2012||Zachary Olsen, Cordova, Tenn.||—|
|2011||Nicholas Reach, Moscow, Pa.||—|