Editors Note: Story is by Tom Markowski of the
Western Golf Association
Sean Maruyama (left) after Western Junior title
(Western Golf Association Photo)
ROYAL OAK, MI (June 24, 2016) -- Sean
Maruyama, one of the youngest players in the field at
16, demonstrated the poise of a polished veteran
Thursday as he held off a late charge by Trevor Brown
to capture the 99th Western Junior at Red Run Golf Club
in Royal Oak, Michigan, in suburban Detroit.
Maruyama, of Los Angeles, closed with a 2-under
par 70 for a 72-hole total of 10-under 278, winning the
nation's oldest junior amateur by two strokes.
Brown briefly took the lead in the final round before
settling for second at 280 -- matching Maruyama over
the last 18 with a final round 70.
Maruyama held the second- and third-round leads
and entered the final round with a two-shot cushion.
"It feels amazing," Maruyama said. "It's the biggest
tournament I've ever won. I definitely did feel the
pressure. I made a mess of things on the first hole (a
bogey 6). I pretty much kept it together after that.
"I got lucky on a few holes," he added. "I snapped
a 3-wood on No. 16, and it ended up in the fairway. I
don't know what it hit."
When the pressure was on, Maruyama played his
best. He didn't miss a fairway on his back nine.
"I knew after 16 that all I needed was a bogey-
par," he said. "And that's what I did."
With the win, Maruyama became the third Western
Junior champion from California in the past four years.
He follows Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge, who
won the 2013 Western Junior, and KK Limbhasut, who
won the following year.
He also joins a list of past Western Junior winners
that includes PGA TOUR superstars Rickie Fowler,
Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk, a fact that was not lost on
"It means so much to join this list of past
champions," he said. "One day, I want someone to look
at it, see my name and go, 'Whoa, his name is on the
trophy. I want to win this event, too.'"
The 18-year-old Brown, from Austin, Texas, will
play at Rice University in the fall. Brown was the co-
leader after the first round before falling back to a tie
for third, four shots behind Maruyama, after a second
round 72. He gained two shots on Maruyama in the
third round before moving into the lead midway through
the final 18.
Playing in the threesome ahead of Maruyama,
Brown caught the Californian at 9-under after making
birdie at the 536-yard, par 5 No. 9. Brown's birdie, set
up by a remarkable recovery shot from the right rough,
at the 412-yard, par 4 No. 12 gave him the lead at 10-
That's when the tide turned in Maruyama's favor.
Brown took an unplayable lie after his tee shot on No.
13 nestled up against a fence. That stroke cost Brown,
as he made bogey to drop back into a tie.
Maruyama reached the 549-yard par 5 No. 13 in
two and two-putted for birdie to regain the lead.
Both made par on No. 14 while Brown lipped out on
a birdie attempt from 15 feet on No. 15. Maruyama
made a pressure-packed 4-footer to save par as Brown
looked on while walking up the 16th fairway.
The 372-yard, No. 16 proved pivotal. Brown's 15-
foot birdie try rolled four feet past the cup, and he
missed his par putt coming back. When Maruyama
made his 17-foot birdie putt on the 16th hole a few
minutes later, he had a three-stroke lead with two holes
"It was crazy," Brown said. "I was walking up the
10th fairway, and my caddie told me (I was tied). Then
I made birdie on 12. I was in the rough 170 (yards)
away and I hit an 8-iron. I don't normally hit an 8-iron
that far. I landed it on perfectly.
"On the putt on 16, I wouldn't say I was
aggressive," he said. "It was the adrenaline. When you
get like, that you hit it harder.
Still, Brown found reason to be happy with his week
at Red Run.
"It's been a blast playing here. It was a joy to play
something different," he said. "It's green up here. We
don't get this in Austin. It's an honor to finish this high."
Both Maruyama and Brown qualified for the
Western Amateur with their one-two finish. In July
Brown plans to attempt to qualify for the U. S. Amateur,
to be played at nearby Oakland Hills Country Club in
For Maruyama, he'll return for his junior year at
Campbell Hall High School in Studio City.
Ryggs Johnston of Libby, Mont., was third, a shot
behind Brown after carding the day's low round of 6-
under 66. Travis Vick of Houston, Texas, was fourth at
5-under 283 with a closing round of 73.
View results for Western Junior Golf Championship