RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico — Playing in his third Puerto Rico Junior Open and after finishing second in last year’s event, Austen Truslow of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., finally broke through and won the 2014 Puerto Rico Junior Open. He was able to defeat Jonathan Rector of Hendersonville, N.C., in a four-hole playoff and earned a spot in the PGA TOUR’s Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Puerto Rico Junior Open was a 54-hole stroke play competition featuring 72 boys, ages 12-18, from 18 U.S. states and 14 foreign countries, as well as eight players from Puerto Rico. For the fourth year in a row, the champion will be awarded a sponsor's exemption into the PGA TOUR's Puerto Rico Open presented by seepuertorico.com, March 6-9. The par-72 Trump International Golf Club — Championship Course played 6,922 yards.
Starting the final round four shots off the lead, Truslow had the mentality that he needed to go low in order to contend for the title. He made a great par save on No. 17 and birdied 18 to sit at 6-under-par 210. When Rector eagled No. 18 it forced a tie with Truslow, leading to an eventual playoff, the first for Truslow in his career.
“There was so much on the line and my putting was pretty shaky all week and I just never had so much pressure before,” said Truslow. “After the first playoff hole I was able to settle down and calmed my nerves a bit. That was my first playoff ever, which was pretty crazy since it was a playoff to get into a PGA TOUR event.”
After four holes of going head-to-head with Rector, Truslow was able to make an up-and-down from the sand to win his third straight AJGA event, and more importantly, one that sends him back to Puerto Rico to compete in a PGA TOUR event.
“It means everything,” said Truslow. “That is ultimately what I want to do, to play on tour. To have the opportunity to go out and play against the best players in the world is going to be incredible, really a dream come true.”
Rector finished in second after a 6-under-par 210 tournament total. George Cunningham of Tucson, Ariz., Jackson Lang of Lexington, Mass., and Ryoto Furuya of Wesley Chapel, Fla., all finished in a tie for third at 5-under-par 211.
View results for Puerto Rico Junior Open Golf Championship