Rafael Barnoya and Jiyoon Jang claimed titles May 19 at the Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational. Barnoya rallied from the third position on the leaderboard entering the final round, while Jang defended her lead.
Barnoya, of Guatemala City, carded two birdies and no bogeys over his final nine holes and shot a 4-under 67 in Round 2 at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz. His 5-under 137 total left him two shots ahead of David Snyder of McAllen, Texas.
First-round leader J.T. Rodenkirch, a Mesa native, dropped from the first-round lead to a tie for 11th. He followed an opening 68 with a 77.
“I’ve been practicing very hard getting ready for this tournament,” Barnoya said. “I’ve been waiting for this one – it’s the best win I’ve had.”
Barnoya is a student at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, and was one of four Gilchrist students to land inside the top 10 on the Golfweek leaderboard.
“Putting is the best part of my game and I was able to make some good ones today,” he said. “I made three straight birdies on the front and that’s when I knew I could win.”
In the girls division, Jang clinched the title with a final-round 70. She also finished the event at 5-under 137, but had a three-shot cushion on runner-up Stephanie Lau.
Jang, of Rancho Mirage, Calif., said tempo and confidence were her keys at Longbow.
“This is my biggest win,” she said. “I’m only 14 and I haven’t played in many big tournaments, so this will be great for my confidence.”
Katharine Patrick rallied from the 12th spot on the leaderboard during the final round, and moved up to solo third with a final-round 66. She had opened with 75.
Beth Lillie of Fullerton, Calif., and Angella Then of Upland, Calif., were T-4 at even-par 142.