Moorhead, Lee finish strong for GW Jr. titles
It’s amazing what a quick lesson can do for your game – just ask Michael Moorhead, winner of the boys’ division of the Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational Sunday at the Troon North Monument Course in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Moorhead recently worked with Sea Island’s Mike Shannon on his putting and continued to drop putts throughout the week, offsetting his swing flaws.
“He got me working on some new drills and everything really clicked this week,” said Moorhead, who carded two consecutive 1-under 71s to finish two shots ahead of Tyler Dunlap. “I really didn’t hit the ball that well this week, but my putting completely saved me. That can be such a big help.”
Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational
Images from the Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational, played Jan. 15-16 at Troon North Monument Course in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Moorhead, 17, earned his two-shot cushion on the final two holes of the tournament. He left his approach shot on the 495-yard, par-4 17th to 25 feet, but rolled in the birdie. Moorhead also closed with a 9-foot birdie on the 18th.
Moorhead, who has won on the Toyota Tour Cup series and had a second-place showing on the FCWT circuit last week, was the only player to break par in the boys’ division.
“I think I’m going to improve from this tournament,” he said. “Hopefully with my new putting, my swing will come around and I can really start dominating in some of these events.”
Closing with a 3-under 69, Andrew Lister moved into a tie for third with Daniel Chian, Zachary Wright and Michael Werenski.
Brad Dalke, the 13-year-old who last year made a verbal commitment to play golf for Oklahoma when he graduates in 2016, shot 79-77 to finish T-27.
A.J. McInerney, the highest-ranked player in the field (No. 30 in Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings), finished T-11 at 4 over.
– D.J. Piehowski
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Paige Lee turned in a final-round 71 to claim a one-shot victory over Lauren Salazar in the girls’ division.
For Lee, 15, a win at the Golfweek Junior Invitational amounts to the most impressive title of her career. Lee, ranked No. 86 by Golfweek, shot an even-par 144 at Troon North. Ri Hyang Park, who will play for Miami in the fall, was third at 3-over 147.
“I almost knew everybody but just coming here and winning is a great feeling,” Lee said. “It was just amazing.”
Lee had three birdies – including a chip-in at the 12th – during her final-round 71. It was what she called a boring round until the 17th. Lee missed the fairway, and required two chip shots to return to the fairway. She got up-and-down for a double bogey, then made par at the final hole to stay one shot ahead of Salazar.
“There was some pressure at No. 18, for sure,” Lee said. “I didn’t know how anybody else did, but I know I wanted to finish up strong after the last hole.”
The year is off to a good start for Lee, who had three top-10 finishes in AJGA events last year, and also finished in the top 10 at the Callaway Junior World Championship. A native of Folsom, Calif., Lee plays out of Northridge Country Club.
The Golfweek Junior title could set her up for a record year in which her goals are “just to play my best, have fun and play with a lot of confidence going into every tournament.”
• Ri Hyang Park was the runner-up at the Golfweek East Coast Junior Invitational. She is a student at the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy.
• Golfweek followed Paige Spirinac for 18 holes during the Junior Series event at Longbow Golf Club.
– Julie Williams