MILLER HOLDS ON TO FIRST-ROUND LEAD, WINS BY FOUR AT THE CLUB AT FLYING HORSE
Grice dominates in lucky pants, earning eight-shot victory
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — When Simon Miller and Casey Grice stepped to the tee Thursday for the final round of the Colorado Junior at Flying Horse with the first-round lead, it was a position they had both been in numerous times, but its also a position that neither had been able to hold on to for the duration of the tournament. However, that wasn't the case Thursday, as Miller and Grice not only held on to their leads but extended them, securing a four-shot and eight-shot victory, respectively.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Colorado Junior at Flying Horse was a 36-hole stroke play event held at The Club at Flying Horse. The tournament field featured 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 17 states and two Canadian provinces. The Boys Division played the par-72 course from a distance of 7,242 yards, while the Girls Division teed it up to the tune of 6,364 yards.
Although Miller openly admitted to struggling a bit with his putting, his ball-striking left little room for his competitors to erase his lead, as he hit all but three fairways and greens, shooting an impressive 2-under-par 70 in the final round and 7-under-par 137 for the tournament, winning his first AJGA tournament in the process.
“It hasn't really sunk in,” Miller said. “I'm just happy I played so well the first day to get a big lead, and I hit almost every fairway and green today because I really didn't putt very well.”
Four players — Wyndham Clark of Greenwood Village, Colo., Richard Schneider of Beemer, Neb., Cody Kent of Castle Rock, Colo., and Jackson Giro of Fort Collins, Colo., — were hot on Miller's heels for the duration of the day, but were never quite able to erase the three-shot advantage he owned heading into the day, as they all four finished four strokes back in a tie for second at 3-under-par 141. Hunter Sparks, who will play his collegiate golf at Wichita State University next fall, shot a final round 6-under-par 66, which was the low round of the day and included nine birdies.
Over the last year and a half, Grice had been in the lead numerous times and failed to hold her lead in the final round, but that was without her lucky charm — her favorite black and white plaid pants.
“I have only pulled those pants out a couple times. I felt it today, and I've gotten a lot of compliments about those pants, so I definitely think they were my good luck charm,” Grice said.
After she birdied three of her first five holes on the back nine, it became quite apparent that the lucky pants weren't the only reason she was in the lead, and it wasn't going to be like the previous times, as she went on to post a final round 6-under-par 66 and 7-under-par 137 for the tournament.
With her hometown contingent following her, Paige Spiranac of nearby Monument, Colo., finished in second at 1-over-par 145, while Jennifer Hahn of Henderson, Nev., finished just one shot back in third at 2-over-par 146.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information about the Colorado Junior at Flying Horse, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.