Gavin Hall won the Ping Invitational, the second AJGA Invitational victory of his career, on Oct. 8, but to do it he had to go head-to-head with a Junior Ryder Cupper.
Hall, who heads to UCLA next fall, and Cameron Champ, who will join the Texas A&M roster in two years, finished 54 holes of regulation at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla., tied at 2-over 218.
Hall, of Pittsford, N.Y., had rallied to get to the top of the leaderboard, finishing with a final-round 70 that included birdies on Nos. 3, 6 and 9 en route to a front-nine 33. He finished with a birdie on No. 18, and posted the clubhouse lead with the final group on the 17th tee.
Champ of Sacramento, Calif., began the day seven shots off the pace before making birdies on Nos. 11, 12 and 14. However, double bogeys on Nos. 13 and 16 meant he needed to birdie the par-5 18th in order to win in regulation. He missed that putt, but a 2-over 74 put him in a playoff against Hall.
After both players parred the first playoff hole, Hall and Champ faced three-foot par putts that would have sent the playoff to the 18th tee for a third time. After Champ lipped out and made bogey, Hall sunk the winning par putt. Hall also won the 2011 Junior Players Championship.
“I was trying to build off that and use every little experience that you can,” Hall said. “It’s very similar to match play at that point and Cameron played great. You really don’t want to win like that, but at the same time I’m really happy I put myself in that position with how I played today.”
As for Champ, it’s the second runner-up finish this summer after a second place at the Junior PGA Championship in August. Champ also put together a 1-0-2 record at the Junior Ryder Cup.
In the girls’ division, Alison Lee also became a repeat AJGA invitational winner. The UCLA commit from Valencia, Calif., finished at 2-under 214, two shots ahead of Annie Park, who will join the USC roster a semester early in the spring.
Lee began a whirlwind season with a victory at the Annika Invitational. She played in two LPGA majors (the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the U.S. Women’s Open), finished runner-up at the U.S. Girls’ Junior and made her second appearance at the Junior Ryder Cup.
“Today the conditions were really tough, the holes were in a lot of tough positions, so it was definitely frustrating for a lot of us out there, but I tried as hard as I could to keep calm,” said Lee, who has six career AJGA victories.
Information from the AJGA used in this report.