Menne successfully defends West Coast title

Golfweek

Menne successfully defends West Coast title

Amateur

Menne successfully defends West Coast title

MESA, Ariz. – Ashley Menne followed up her record-breaking 62 with a 5-under 68 in the final round of the Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational Sunday, notching a resounding 13-shot victory in successfully defending her title at Mesa Country Club.

Her 11-under 62 on Saturday set the mark for low round in Golfweek Junior Tournament Series history as did her cumulative 16-under 130 total for the two rounds.

“I didn’t see it coming; I was kind of shocked by it,” Menne said of her opening round which consisted of 12 birdies against just one bogey. “The first day was real easy – everything was going in. I wasn’t trying super hard or thinking about much and that helped.”

Menne, currently ranked No. 19 in Golfweek/Sagarin, opened the tournament with nine birdies in her first 13 holes. That helped her open up a 7-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round, but she was not about to let up. She notched pars on each of the first nine holes before an eagle at the short par-5 10th. A clean scorecard would conclude with birdies at 13, 15 and 18.

“I wasn’t too worried about what I was going to shoot today,” Menne said. “It’s not like I was going to forget how to play golf overnight.

“I was a little worried coming into this tournament because I’ve been working on my swing. I hadn’t played a tournament for three weeks and I didn’t really know how I would do going back into tournament mode. Taking two or three weeks off seems to work.”

The most drama took place in the chase for the runner-up trophy where Breyana Matthews rallied to finish the tournament at 3-under 143 following a 70 Sunday. That left her one shot in front of Toni St John (70-74—144) and two in front of Abigail Wiranatha (69-76—145) and Therese Warner (74-71—145).

Benjamin Hong. (Golfweek)

Hong emerges for boys title

Benjamin Hong will enter next month’s Corey Pavin Invitational a different player than he was just three days ago. Looking for his first signature win, Hong earned it at this weekend’s Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational and now carries a new-found confidence level.

“This tournament is kind of my breakthrough,” said Hong, whose 5-under 67 erased a 2-shot deficit in rallying to beat James Mackie and Tucker Clark by one stroke. “I’ve been playing well in high school matches, but this is a different level. This tournament is going to help my ranking and my recruiting.”

Hong entered the event ranked No. 683, a number which is sure to improve after his victory at Mesa Country Club where he fired rounds of 71-67—138. He wasted no time joining the leaders as he started with birdies at Nos. 1, 5 and 6 that included on 2-putt and two 10-footers going down.

On the closing nine, Hong posted birdies at 13, 15 and 17 with the only blemish on his scorecard coming with a bogey at 14.

Having never won a tournament beyond a local field, Hong’s expectations were reasonably tempered entering this weekend’s event which boasts of players from across the country.

“During the practice round I was just thinking about playing my game,” Hong said. “Then after the first round I was only two shots behind and thought ‘I can win this.’”

Entering the final round, the championship was up for grabs with 29 players all within seven shots of the lead. Co-leaders Mackie and Tucker Clark played well Sunday by each firing rounds of 2-under 70 while Brooks Li put together back-to-back rounds of 70.

Trailing by two entering Sunday’s final round left Hong in a comfortable position.

“I thought I needed to shoot about 5- or 6-under, so I needed to be aggressive. I like to be just a shot behind so I can play aggressively.

“After this tournament I feel like my swing is getting better and my game is more consistent. I feel confident now that I can get a top-10 in the Corey Pavin.”

For the complete results: click here

Golfweek Midwest Junior Open

The Golfweek West Coast Junior Invitational is the second leg of the Golfweek Junior Tournament Series Presented by USA Today. Upcoming is the Golfweek Midwest Junior Open July 23-24 at Sultan’s Run Golf Club in Jasper, Ind. The top three boys and top two girls at the Midwest earn automatic invitations to the Series finale, the Golfweek International Junior Invitational Oct. 27-28 at Mission Inn Resort located north of Orlando.

Registration for the Midwest Open is currently underway here.

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