Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (July 22, 2006) – Philip Francis, 17, of Scottsdale,
Ariz., put a punctuation mark on an already impressive run of victories this
summer, with a 3-and-2 decision over 15-year-old Richard Lee of nearby Chandler,
Ariz., to win the 36-hole final match of the 2006 U.S. Junior Amateur at Rancho
Santa Fe Golf Club.
“It feels great,” Francis said. “You look at the past winners
in the USGA events such as Tiger (Woods) and the greats of golf, and to put
your name up there with them always feels good.”
Francis, who earlier stated that winning would be based on consistency and
lack of mistakes, looked more in control of his distance than the long-hitting
“I was able to hit just as many [types of] shots two years ago,” Francis
said of the two-year difference between Lee and himself. “But, the difference
between now and then is I’m managing my game better. You know Richard
will develop into doing the same thing because he’s winning, he’s
really aggressive and I was the same way.”
Francis, who has won the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Tournament
of Champions and the Thunderbird Invitational this year, fashioned a 4-up lead
through 11 holes, highlighted by a 104-yard, 54-degree wedge shot that flew
into the hole for an eagle on No. 9. He also birdied the par-5 fifth and eighth
holes for wins.
The Canadian-born Lee, who won the 13-14 division of the Junior Worlds in
2005, reduced his deficit to just two holes through the first 18 when Francis
made his sole morning bogey on the 16th and then the home-schooled 10th-grader
birdied the par-5 18th.
“I wasn’t thinking so much,” Lee said of his morning deficit. “I
was just trying to hit the ball straight and make the putts out there.”
After lunch, Francis, a first-team AJGA All-American, won the 21st hole with
a par after Lee bogeyed and moved his lead to 4 up with a birdie on the par-4
sixth (24th hole).
Lee responded with a birdie on the short, par-4 10th but lost the 13th (28th)
when Francis hit the flagstick with a 6-iron and then sank a 12-foot putt for
a winning birdie to move his lead to 4 up. Lee won the par-3 14th (32nd) with
an 8-foot, par-saving putt when Francis could not get up and down from a greenside
On the 16th hole (34th), both players hit their approach shots close on the
green. Francis, playing first, holed his 9-foot birdie putt for the victory.
During the course of 34 holes, Francis, who will attend UCLA in 2007, posted
nine birdies, an eagle and two bogeys, the stroke play equivalent of 9-under-par
with the usual match-play concessions. Lee, who qualified for the 2005 U.S.
Amateur as a 14-year-old, logged six birdies and just two bogeys.
Francis and Lee, who play golf together on a regular basis, comprise what
is believed to be the first all-Arizona final in the 59 years of the Junior
Amateur. The last Arizona champion was Charlie Beljan, who won in 2002.
“I’m really happy with runner-up,” Lee said. “Philip
was such good competition out there. He’s my really good friend
in Arizona and we know what we are doing out there together. I’m really
proud of myself coming in second in the U.S. Junior Am. In my second round,
the putts didn’t go in. That’s unfortunate, I’ll try to get
that fixed. It was a little struggle out there with putting but the shots were
The winner receives a gold medal and the custody of the Junior Amateur Championship
Trophy for the ensuing year. The finalists are also exempt from qualifying
for the 2006 U.S. Amateur at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.,
in August. Francis is also exempt into next year’s Amateur at The Olympic
Club, while Lee, a public-course player, is exempt into the 2007 U.S. Amateur
Public Links Championship at Cantigny Golf Course outside of Chicago. The finalists
also receive an exemption from local qualifying for the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont
(Pa.) Country Club (Francis is exempt through 2009)
All quarterfinalists are exempt from qualifying for the 2007 U.S. Junior Amateur
at Boone Valley Golf Club in Augusta, Mo., near Kansas City, July 23-28.
The U.S. Junior Amateur is one of 13 national championships conducted annually
by the United States Golf Association, 10 of which are solely for amateurs.
Past champions include Tiger Woods (1991, 1992, 1993), David Duval (1989),
Gay Brewer (1949) and Mason Rudolph (1950).
Story written by Pete Kowalski of USGA Media Relations. E-mail him with questions
or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* * * *
Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. – Result from the 36-hole championship final
round of match play at the 2006 U.S. Junior Amateur, conducted by the United
States Golf Association, played at Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club (6,936 yards,
Philip Francis, Scottsdale, Ariz. (137) d. Richard Lee, Chandler, Ariz. (149),
3 and 2
To view hole-by-hole results from the final match, click