Jack O’Donnell, Gabrielle Shieh capture Golfweek New England titles

Jack O’Donnell, Gabrielle Shieh capture Golfweek New England titles

Events

Jack O’Donnell, Gabrielle Shieh capture Golfweek New England titles

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SEEKONK, Mass. – Jack O’Donnell may not have brought his best game to the Golfweek New England Junior Open this past week, but he was able to rally on the final day to claim his second title in three years.

Having posted a disappointing 4-over-par 75 in Sunday’s opening round at Ledgemont Country Club, O’Donnell stood seven shots back but never felt out of the tournament. He birdied the short par-5 opening hole and rode that momentum to a 69 Monday and a two-shot victory over Jason Temel and Matthew Weber.

“I wasn’t really hitting it that great, but I putted and chipped really well,” said O’Donnell, who entered the event ranked No. 699 in the Golfweek/Sagarin boys junior rankings. “My goal was to be 2-under through four to start the day because those are the easier holes.”

O’Donnell blasted a driver then 7-iron just over the green on the opening hole then chipped to a foot for his tap-in birdie. Though he made bogey at the fourth, O’Donnell came back with birdies at 13 and 14 to put him in position.

“I knew I had to get to 3- or 4-under to win and I had plenty of good chances on the back nine and missed some short birdie putts on 11 and 12. I was just hoping to make it into a playoff, but luckily I was able to win (in regulation).”

O’Donnell was chasing first-round leader Temel, who played a bogey-free opening round but never found his groove Monday. Temel failed to make a birdie in the final round and shot 78 – the big blow coming with a double bogey at the par-3 15th that provided O’Donnell with his margin of victory.

Weber, who entered the event with a provisional Golfweek/Sagarin ranking of 617, followed up his opening-round 70 with a wild round of 76 Monday that included just seven pars on the card.

The 75 Sunday was a bit of a surprise for O’Donnell, but not one that discouraged him.

“I definitely wasn’t happy with it,” O’Donnell said of his opening round. “I know I didn’t have my (best) stuff, but I was only 2-over through 16. I knew I dug myself a deep hole, but basically after the first hole I knew I was in it.”

The victory earned O’Donnell an automatic invitation to the prestigious Golfweek International Junior Invitational in November at ChampionsGate Resort near Orlando. Before that he will have the U.S. Junior Championships.

“I feel I have some good momentum going into that.”

Shieh captures Girls title at Golfweek New England Open

Gabrielle Shieh made things look easy this week, going wire-to-wire in winning the Golfweek New England Junior Open at Ledgemont Country Club.

Pulling away from the field midway through the first round, Shieh went on to post rounds of 74-74 (148) to win by eight shots over Allison Paik and Emily Nash.

In Sunday’s opening round Shieh and playing partner Paik both made the turn in even-par to set up what has become a normal battle between the two on the junior circuits. This time, it was Shieh who held things together to pull out the victory over two days of weather delays.

Shieh reeled off six straight pars during Sunday’s back nine while Paik struggled to get home with a pair of double bogeys. That set up Shieh with a four-shot lead over Nash.

“Usually it’s easier to be the one that’s chasing than to be the one that’s trying to maintain the lead,” said Shieh, who entered the event with a provisional Golfweek/Sagarin ranking of 430. “I just focused on my own game.”

Shieh came in to Ledgemont having won the PGA Junior Qualifier at Shaker Hills and rode that confidence to victory this week with a hot short game.

“My approach shots weren’t the best,” Shieh said. “I missed a few more greens than usual, so I was able to save a lot of pars with my short game.”

Shieh held steady with the lead Monday, playing the front nine in 2-over-par as Nash closed with two shots at that point. Shieh kept things together on the closing nine with birdies at 11 an 17 while Nash’s run came to an end with seven straight bogeys.

Shieh now carries two straight victories into next week’s Junior PGA Championship at Keney Park in Windsor, Conn.

A rising senior, Shieh is yet to verbally commit to a college but admits there are several Ivy League schools in the offing.

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