The Joe Cheves Junior Invitational is an invitation-only junior event where champions from a select list of junior tournaments in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, as well as a set of other performance-based qualifications, make up the field. This year participants had to battle unforgiving winds left behind by Hurricane Irene during the 36 holes they played at the Donald Ross-designed Mimosa Hills Country Club in Morganton, N.C.
Taylor Coalson fired rounds of 67-70 for a 7-under total and claimed the championship title. Coalson got his score to 10 under for the tournament through his 33rd hole, and he held a four-shot lead over Austin Langdale at that point; however, Coalson proceeded to double-bogey No. 16 and bogeyed No. 17, while Langdale, who was in the group ahead of Coalson, parred in. Coalson came to the final hole knowing he had to make par for the victory, and succeeded. Coming in at a close second place (6-under 137) was Langdale. Tied for third place at 4-under par were Miller Capps, Drew Johnson and Tanner Owen.
College-bound players in the field:
Miller Capps, Clemson
Taylor Coalson, UNCG
Chad Cox, NC State
Luke Haithcock, UNCG
Maclain Huge, Virginia Tech
Zack Jaworski, Vanderbilt
Carter Jenkins, UNCG – 2013
Jeff Krieger, Purdue
Tyler Lail, Western Carolina
Austin Langdale, Clemson – 2013
Alex Lee, Catawba
Jackson Moore, College of Charleston – 2013
Alex Nianouris, Davidson
Carter Page, NC State
Cory Sciupider, Notre Dame
Will Starke, South Carolina
Victor Wiggins, Auburn – 2013
Davis Womble, Wake Forest
In the girls division, the excitement went on to extra holes with first-place finishers McKenzie Talbert and Kelli Murphy. They started by replaying the 18th – Talbert barely missed an 18-footer there, while Murphy also left her 12-foot putt hanging on the lip. At the next hole, the par-4 fourth, both girls made pars to push the sudden death match to another hole. Finally on No. 5, Talbert had to hit her second shot from Bermuda rough and maneuver around a tree, but still managed to knock it on the green and give herself a downhill 20-foot-putt for birdie, while Murphy had a downhill 15-foot-putt for birdie. Talbert ran her putt 4-footer past and then lipped out, and Murphy made her 3-footer for the win. Katelyn Dambaugh, the runner-up at the 2010 U.S. Girls’ Junior, finished third at 4 under.
Fun facts about Talbert and Murphy: Earlier in the summer Murphy defeated Talbert, 3 and 2, in the semifinals of the Carolinas Junior Girls Championship.
Talbert will head to Ireland in a few weeks as a captain’s pick for the Junior Solheim Cup.
Talbert has played in three Joe Cheves Junior, finishing as the runner-up in 2009 to Kaitlyn Rohrback (Tennessee) by one shot (71-75). She finished eighth in 2010 (72-76).
College-Bound players in field:
Taylor Allison, Western Carolina
Emily Brooks, Elon
Chelsey Couch, South Carolina
Katelyn Dambaugh, South Carolina – 2013
Mariah Hopkins, Western Carolina
Kaitlin Matheson, South Carolina
Emiley Pagrabs, Wofford
Morgan Webber, College of Charleston