NCGA Junior Champions: Taylor Bromley and Lauren Kim
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (July 3, 2012) -- The final round of the 2012 NCGA Junior Championship provided plenty of competitive golf as both the boys and girls winners came down to a single shot. Taylor Bromley of Dublin, the overall boys winner needed a sudden-death playoff with Corey Pereira to win the title, while Lauren Kim edged out fellow 18-hole co-leader Nancy Xu by one stroke.
Bromley, who held the 36-hole lead going into the day, posted a very nice 71, 1-under par, to go along with his solid rounds of 72 and 71 to finish at a 54-hole score of 214. However, fellow-competitor Pereira, who was paired in the final group with Bromley and came into the day one shot back, posted a 2-under par 70 to also finish at 214.
The playoff began on the par-4 10th hole and both players hit nearly identical drives hitting through the fairway landing in the right rough about 125 yards out. Pereira, who was literally no more than 10 feet behind Bromley’s ball went first, which proved to be a huge advantage in Bromley’s favor. Pereira hit what looked like a fine shot landing just past the flag, but coming out of the rough his ball got no spin and ended up 60 feet past the hole on the back of the green. Seeing that, Bromley landed his ball on the front of the green below the hole and the ball skimmed by the cup—nearly going in—ending up eight feet past the hole. After Pereira hit a decent lag putt to a few feet, Bromley confidently made his eight foot birdie putt to win the playoff outright.
“It definitely helped me out a lot [to see Corey hit the approach shot first], it showed me that the green was really firm and that I needed to land it short of the hole,” said Bromley.
Despite losing in the playoff, Pereira earned first place honors in the boys 16-18 division with his 54-hole total of 214. Earning second place was Maverick McNealy of Portola Valley, who also posted a final round 2-under 70, finishing at 215, one-shot out of the playoff. Justin Pagila of Dublin earned third place finishing at 218, tied for fourth place overall.
The girls division turned out closer than it looked as Kim of Los Altos led most of the day, but held on in the end to win. Kim and Xu matched each other with pars on their opening five holes off the back nine, but a double-bogey by Xu on the par-3 15th after hitting her tee shot in the water, got her off track as she followed with bogeys on 16, 17 and 18. Xu cut the lead briefly to one stroke after she made consecutive birdies on the third and fourth holes, but lost it right back with bogeys on Nos. five and seven. With a three-stroke advantage going into the 36th hole, Kim struggled making a double-bogey-6, but it was enough to come away with a one-stroke victory.
“My putting was really strong yesterday, so I definitely wanted to keep that consistent going into today’s round,” explained Kim of her final round game plan.
Kim was the only girl to break the 150 barrier posting a two-day total of 149 with rounds of 73 and 76. Nancy Xu of Sunnyvale earned second with rounds of 73 and 77 to finish at 150. Coming from behind to finish third, starting the day in a three-way tie for sixth, was Alameda’s Carly Childs who finished at 152 with rounds of 77 and 75.
Bromley, 18, and Kim, 17, both recently graduated high school, but will be sticking around close to home as the two will both be playing collegiate golf in the South Bay. Kim will be attending Stanford University and she looks forward to being a part of team and soaking in the college atmosphere. Bromley will be playing for San Jose State University and is excited to play college golf, but also other NCGA events.
In the boys 14-15 division Jacob Solomon of Dublin ran away with the win after a final round 70 to finish tied for fourth overall at 218. Solomon, 15, who is an incoming sophomore at Dublin High School, said he felt very comfortable with the lead as he has been playing with a lot of confidence lately. “All three rounds I was hitting the ball well, but today I finally made some putts,” he said. Second place in the division went to Danville’s Joshua McCarthy, who finished 11 strokes behind at a 229 total, with rounds of 81, 72 and 76. Third place went to Robert Briggs of Novato with a 230 aggregate after rounds of 74, 75 and 81.
In the boys 13 and under division Ashkaan Hakim of San Ramon matched his first round 71 with another on Tuesday to finish at 142, 2-under par and win by nine strokes. Hakim attributed his play to smart golf course management. “I aimed at the [flag] on the scoring holes where I had wedges in, and on the other holes I just aimed for the middle of the green,” said the soon-to-be eighth grader. Finishing in second was last year’s boys 13 and under winner Eddy Lai of San Jose at 151. In third was Drake Mendenhall of Granite Bay at 161.