They say everything’s bigger in Texas. For Julia Beck and Benjamin Arnett, champions in their respective divisions at the AJGA BilliardFactory.com Junior Championship at The Woodlands Country Club Tournament Course in The Woodlands, Texas on June 21, they would likely say that includes the drama.
Beck of Austin, Texas, winner of the Girls’ Division, knocked off Cheyenne Knight of The Woodlands, Texas in a sudden-death playoff. After two rounds of 6-over 78, Beck entered the final round at 12-over, four strokes behind Knight. An even-par 72, the low round of the tournament, by Beck on the final day knotted her with Knight, who shot a 4-over 76, after 54 holes (at 12-over 228).
The tie was broken when Beck won via a sudden-death playoff on No. 10. The win was the first ever AJGA title for Beck, ranked 224 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings.
“I have been working for this every day for the last 10 years. It was only a matter of time before I won,” she said.
The runner-up finish was the third for Knight, who was playing in her hometown. The 124th ranked player in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings is still seeking her first AJGA championship.
Eji Kwon and Grace Choi, both of Dallas, Texas, finished tied for third place at 15-over 231. Vanessa Ha of Allen, Texas finished in fifth place at 17-over 233.
In the Boys’ Division, Houston, Texas’ Arnett staved off a clutter of contenders to score a 1-stroke victory. Arnett opened the championship with a 3-under 69 (the low round for the tournament), but a 3-over 75 in the second round cut his advantage to one stroke. A final round 2-over 74, which included a 2-under 34 on the back nine, lifted Arnett to his first AJGA title at 2-over 218.
The number 377 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings owed much of the victory to his clutch play down the stretch. “The hardest part was not falling apart in the last three holes because I knew I had the lead,” Arnett said. “You don’t have time to not feel confident, though…You just have to go for it.”
Peter Thorseth of Virginia Water, Surrey, United Kingdom bogeyed the final hole to finish in second place at 3-over 219. Also at the top of the leaderboard were Wes Artac of Kingwood, Texas and Jacob Veerman of Sugarland Texas, both of whom finished tied for third place at 4-over 74. Shen Yoon, a local boy of The Woodlands, Texas, finished in fifth place at 6-over 222.