The last time someone had won three consecutive AJGA events in a row was in 1993, when Michael Henderson of Raleigh, N.C., accomplished the feat.
The achievement was equaled last week, but not just by one golfer. It was done twice, and on the same day for that matter.
Matt Gilchrest and Jacob Solomon capped off third-consecutive victories on Aug. 9. Gilchrest took the Goodman Networks Junior at Timarron CC in Southlake, Texas – his hometown – while Solomon won the Stockton Convention and Vistors Bureau Junior All-Star at the Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton, Calif.
“I actually looked it up on the computer, so i was aware,” Gilchrest said. “I tried to pick a tournament where I would have a good chance of getting three in a row.”
So Gilchrest choose his home course, and it paid off. His performance in Southlake also included shooting the lowest round of his AJGA career. Gilchrest made seven birdies and two eagles to card a 10-under 62 in the final round. He won by nine strokes.
“I just felt really comfortable,” said Gilchrest, who played in the U.S. Amateur this week, but failed to make match play after shooting 9 over through two rounds. “Had I been down and had to come from behind, I might have felt some pressure. But I got off to a quick start and managed to stay out of my own way.
“I’ve been playing the course since I was 2 years old and I know where all the breaks are.”
Gilchrest also has victories at the Harvey Penick Junior and the Genesis Shootout – a tournament he won for the second straight time this year. He’s committed to Auburn and was an honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American.
Solomon, a Dublin, Calif., native, shot 8-under 208 and ousted Brandon Wu in a two-hole playoff to win the event in Stockton. He also recorded victories at the AJGA Junior at Ruby Hill and the Junior All-Star at Gainey Ranch.
“Three in a row is something that I never expected from myself,” Solomon said. “Obviously I wanted to win today and I put myself in position, but I never thought I could finish it out. With the amazing summer that I’ve had, I figured it had to be somebody else’s turn, but I just played my game and got it done.”
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SMITH GOES FOR 3: Connor Smith made it two AJGA wins in a row with his victory at the AJGA Junior on Aug. 7-9 at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn.
Smith, a Birmingham, Ala., native, shot even-par 213, including a 5-under 66 during the second round, to win by three shots over second-place Fred Allen Meyer of Nicholasville, Ky. He had won the E-Z-Go Vaughn Championship the week prior.
Entering the final round ahead by three strokes, Smith bogeyed two of his first three holes. He made the turn at 3 over, but bounced back for a 1-over 72.
“My first birdie putt put some confidence in me,” Smith said of his birdie at No. 12, the first of two straight birdies. “It was a good confidence booster. I had finally hit a good shot.”
Smith will play in the Webb Simpson Junior at Bryan Park G&CC in Browns Summit, N.C., which begins Tuesday. The field also includes Eric Bae, Cristian DiMarco, Noah Edmondson and Joshua Seiple.
“Hopefully I can play good there and pull out another win,” Smith said.
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WINNERS: Theo Humphrey of Greenwich, Conn., won the Philadelphia Junior on Aug. 6-8 after shooting 3-under 207 at Huntingdon Valley (Pa.) CC. . . . Jimmy Makloski of Pueblo, Colo., won his first AJGA title, shooting 1-under 210 to win the AJGA Junior on Aug. 7-9 at the Fox Hill Club in Longmont, Colo. . . . Despite a lengthy weather delay during the final round, Nick Carlson of Hamilton, Mich., beat Ryan Jahn of Jupiter, Fla., in a four-hole playoff to win the Randy Wise Junior Open on Aug. 7-9 at Warwick Hills G&CC in Grand Blanc, Mich.
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LOOKING AHEAD: Aside from the Webb Simpson Junior, the AJGA has three other tournaments on the schedule this week, including the Sooner Junior All-Star in Norman, Okla., the AJGA Junior at Robinson Ranch in Santa Clarita, Calif., and the Peninsula Junior at Millsboro, Del. . . . The Texas Legends Junior Tour’s George Hannon Junior at Spanish Oaks CC will take place Aug. 13-14. . . . The New England Junior at Taconic GC in Williamstown, Mass., and the Junior Tour of Northern California’s Tour Championship at Mayacama GC in Santa Rose, Calif., are scheduled to end Aug. 14.
Information from the AJGA was used in this report