Vu, Holen win Golfwek Jr. Series event
MESA, Ariz. – Lilia Vu, 11, broke the record for youngest winner of a Golfweek Junior Series event Sunday, closing with a 2-over 73 at Longbow Golf Club to finish at 4-over 146. Vu topped Jackie Chang and Sun Park by three shots.
J.J. Holen and Lilia Vu talk about their victories at the Golfweek Junior Series at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.
Vu, of Fountain Valley, Calif., closed her round with a birdie on No. 18.
“I hit a good tee shot, then hit my fairway wood just short of the green and pitched to 8 feet,” said Vu, the youngest competitor in the field. “I was looking at a downhill birdie putt with 4 inches of break and I made it.”
With the victory, Vu qualifies for the Golfweek Junior Invitational, Nov. 7-8 at Reunion Resort near Orlando, Fla. Joining Vu at the Golfweek Junior will be Chang, Park and Morgan Thompson.
Vu isn’t a stranger to big victories. She won the 9-10 age division at the Junior World Golf Championship and the San Diego Junior Masters in 2008. This summer, she won the Toyota Cup and Yorba Linda Open.
“I still need to practice harder and work on making good putts,” Vu said.
Chang, 17, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., was 4 over after seven holes, but birdied Nos. 8, 11 and 15 to close with 72. She will attend North Carolina in the fall. Park opened with 76 and birdied No. 18 in the final round to shoot 73.
“I didn’t even know Vu was 11,” said Park, 18, who will attend Yale in the fall. “On this golf course, those scores (73-73) are very impressive.”
In the boys’ division, first-round leader J.J. Holen followed a 1-under 70 with a 71 to cruise to a three-shot victory over Kyle Jones (72).
Golfweek Junior Series: Recap
Holen, a 17-year-old from Castaic, Calif., birdied Nos. 15-16 to seal the deal.
Holen and Jones, as well as Blake Huser, advance to the Golfweek Junior Invitational.
“If anything this gives me confidence going there,” said Holen, who is undecided on a college. “I know every player will be as good as me if not better, so I’ll have to beat them with my mental game because they all hit the ball long.”
Jones, who opened with 72, birdied Nos. 2-3 to tie Holen for the lead early in the final round. However, Jones made a double bogey on the par-4 12th and a bogey on the par-4 13th.
“It’s always disappointing when you don’t win, but Tiger Woods doesn’t win them all either,” said Jones, who lives in Snowflake, Ariz., and is undecided on college. “It could have been worse out there, but I’m happy.”
Huser’s closing 71 included four bogeys and four birdies. The 16-year-old from Altoona, Iowa, was excited to advance to the Golfweek Junior Invitational.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” he said. “I’m from Iowa and now I get to go to Orlando. Hopefully, college coaches will get to see how I do.”