FRANKFORT, Ill. (May 4, 2008)--Matt Hageman of Dixon, Ill., fired a final round of 6-under-par 66 to claim the top spot on the leaderboard at the Medicus Preseason Junior in the Chicago Southland Sunday. His tournament total of 4-under-par 140 was good for a one-shot margin over Josh Clay of Canton, Ohio.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Medicus Preseason Junior in the Chicago Southland was a 36-hole stroke play event held at Green Garden Country Club - Blue Course. The tournament field consisted of 78 boys, ages 12 to 18, from 20 states, Canada and Indonesia. The par-72 course played at 6,225 yards.
Beginning the day five shots behind the leader, Hageman recorded five birdies over his first seven holes to make the turn with the lead after opening with a5-under-par 31on the front side.
“Coming into the round, I knew I wasn't going to hand the tournament over,” Hageman said. “If I lost, I didn't want it to be easy for the other guys. I was actually a little ticked at myself after the front nine because I missed two birdies inside 12 feet, but I just kept pushing.”
Hageman's only bogey of the day came after a wayward drive on No. 14. He rebounded with a birdie on the par-5 15th to build a one-shot advantage coming down the stretch. After Clay's approach nearly found the cup from under a tree and rolled to less than a foot for birdie on No. 17, Hageman had to work to stay focused.
“The No. 1 rule is to always expect anything, but I didn't expect that,” Hageman said. “The nerves really kicked in and I had to back off a few times. But I was able to calm myself down and stuffed one right in there next to his.”
Carrying a one-shot lead into the final hole, Hageman made a crucial up-and-down for the first victory of his AJGA career. The weekend was both eventful and memorable for the 17-year-old.
“After the first round, I hopped in the car and we drove two hours home to make it to my prom,” Hageman said. “I was up at 4:30 in the morning to get back for today's round. But I had my first prom and now my first AJGA win. It could be the best weekend ever.”
Clay carded a final round of even-par 72 to finish second with a tournament total of 3-under-par 141. Tyler Klava of Pace, Fla., recorded a two-day total of 2-under-par 142 to finish third. Brett Patterson of McMinnville, Tenn., finished fourth at 1-over-par 145 and Brenten Blakeman of Burr Ridge, Ill., rounded out the top-five with a total of 3-over-par 147.