Marcus Smith, Rachel Hu win Golfweek Midwest Junior Open

Marcus Smith, Rachel Hu win Golfweek Midwest Junior Open

Junior

Marcus Smith, Rachel Hu win Golfweek Midwest Junior Open

The Golfweek Midwest Junior Open turned into a pair of four-shot victories Tuesday, as Marcus Smith finished off a comfortable win in the boys division and Rachel Hu closed out on the girls side.

Smith opened in 5-under 67 at Sultan’s Run Golf Club in Jasper, Ind., and followed with a 74 for a 3-under total and a four-shot triumph.

Hu started in 8-over 80 for a one-shot lead but extended her final margin to four as well with a closing 78 and a 14-over total.

It rained during the practice round, which had Smith contemplating leaving the course instead. But he credited his grandfather with convincing him to practice in those conditions in order to get acclimated to wet conditions that would be apparent in Monday’s opening round.

“Due to all the practice when it was raining, it was like second nature,” said Smith, of Rockford, Ill.

With that strong start, Smith entered the second and final round with a five-shot lead. He said he struggled at the beginning Tuesday, bogeying two of his first three holes, but had confidence in his game.

“My driver was really working well. I was able to put myself in the center of the fairway,” said Smith, an incoming junior in high school. “And my wedges were really good today.”

Hu, of Northville, Mich., played her first 13 holes Tuesday in 3 over before a triple bogey at the 14th. But she birdied the following hole to steady herself and played her final three holes in 1 over.

She felt her short game helped her most in her triumph.

“My putting strengthened my game a lot,” Hu said, “but I think in the end it was a little bit of everything that helped.”

The incoming freshman in high school, who is ranked No. 523 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, noted as well that her swing had been off coming into the event but her mother helped her get it on track.

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