BECK DRAINS BIRDIE PUTT ON NO. 18 TO WIN JUNIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Second-round leader holds off competition, takes home first AJGA Invitational victory at TPC Sawgrass
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. â€” Playing in his first AJGA Invitational, Evan Beck of Virginia Beach, Va., captured The Junior PLAYERS Championship title in dramatic fashion. Sinking a 60-foot putt for birdie to propel past Pontus Widegren of Danderyd, Sweden, on the final hole, Beck was victorious at the second-annual Junior PLAYERS Championship Sunday.
The PGA TOUR, in cooperation with the American Junior Golf Association, brought 78 players from 18 states and 12 foreign countries to TPC Sawgrass for a special junior golf experience. The Junior PLAYERS Championship, mirrored after THE PLAYERS, was played on the par-72 THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. The course was setup at 7,215 yards, the same as the PGA TOUR event that brings together the deepest tournament field in professional golf. Tournament participants were furnished with professional caddies, access to the TOUR locker room and tournament gifts that give this event a PGA TOUR-like feel.
Beck began the final round with a three-shot lead. Making the turn at 2-under-par on the day, Beck maintained this lead with nine holes to play. Untimely bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14 allowed Widegren to take the lead by one stroke after he carded birdies on Nos. 11 and 13. A Beck birdie on No. 16 brought him back into a tie with Widegren heading into the famed par-3 17th. Widegren then sunk a 20-foot birdie putt to take a one-stroke lead with one hole to play. After Widegren failed to make his par putt on the 462-yard, par-4 18th, Beck sunk an improbable 60-foot putt to win the tournament.
â€śI knew I had to be aggressive off the tee because of what Pontus did on 17,â€ť Beck said. â€śI knew I couldn't let it get to me. I just tried to play straight. It all worked out.
â€śIt's always tough playing the last holes. These holes are especially tough,â€ť he said. â€śI tried not to think about it and it all worked out. It was probably the longest putt I've ever made.â€ť
Beck, who is currently ranked No. 4 in the Polo Golf Rankings, is a two-time AJGA champion, with his most recent win coming at the Golf Pride Junior Classic earlier this month. He also finished runner-up at the 2008 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in August.
After finishing tied for fifth last year, Widegren took home a sole second-place finish with a tournament total of 6-under-par 210. Tied for third were Pedro Figueiredo of Quinta do Conde, Portugal, and Talor Gooch of Midwest City, Okla., with 2-under-par 214s.Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash., finished fifth with an even-par 216 tournament total.
For more information about The Junior PLAYERS Championship, contact AJGA National Headquarters at (877) 373-2542.