Adam Wood captures 2012 Western Junior -- photo WJGA
VILLAGE OF GOLF, Fla. (Friday, June 22) - Adam Wood, 16, of Zionsville, Ind., turned in four straight rounds under par on his way to winning the 95th Western Junior championship by four strokes Friday at Country Club of Florida.
Wood, who will not graduate from Zionsville High School until 2014 but has committed to play for Duke, entered the final round Friday with a 5-shot lead and closed with a 1-under-par 71 for a tournament total of 9-under-par 279.
Tae Wan Lee, of Orlando, Fla., fired a Country Club of Florida competitive round record 6-under-par 66 to finish in a tie for second at 5-under-par 283 with Danny Walker, of Bradenton, Fla., and Clayton Madey, of West Linn, Ore. All three joined Wood in earning exemptions into this year’s Western Amateur at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park, Ill.
“I had my A game the entire week and I hit the shots when I had to,” noted Wood. “I shot myself out of last year’s tournament on the back nine when I was in contention, but this is a fantastic tournament filled with some of the best players in the world, and I’m glad I’m joining a group of such prestigious champions.”
The tournament has been a testing ground for stars of the future, such as current PGA TOUR pros Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler, and veterans such as Fred Couples Craig Stadler and Corey Pavin. Furyk, Mahan and Fowler all are past Western Junior champions.
“It feels amazing. It’s been a wonderful week and will always be something I’ll look back on,” said Wood.
Wood played his front nine to even par, but it was his back-to-back birdies on the 461-yard, par 4 10th and the 564-yard, par 5 11th that sealed the deal.
“I hit the ball extremely well off the tee and then putted very well too, and on these greens that was no easy feat,” Wood explained. “I think having both of those parts of my game working for me helped take me to the top.”
Wood enjoyed his frequent birdie moments on the course, but the walk down the 18th fairway Friday was the highlight for him.
“It was pretty incredible, just walking up there with my dad and most likely knowing that trophy was mine,” Wood said. “It was an incredible feeling and something I will always look back on. And when I rolled that last putt in, nothing but joy and happiness. It was a great feeling.”
The 95th Western Junior champion, however, will not stop here.
“I have the Rolex Tournament of Champions next in Georgia, and well, I have nothing but good thoughts going into that tournament now.”