HORSESHOE BAY, Texas (July 28, 2011) – In the end, youth trumped experience. In what turned out to be a topsy-turvy final round, Austin's Stratton Nolen lost his five stroke lead, pulled even, and then finally took control for good. Nolen shot rounds of 67-71-74 to win the 84th Texas Boys State Junior Championship by three shots over Austin's Brenden Redfern.
Conducted by the Legends Junior Tour, this year's State Junior Championship was played at Horseshoe Bay's Ram Rock course. The challenging par-71 layout played 6,791 yards for the Boys 15-18 division. The 144 player field featured players from all over the state who either earned exempt status or qualified at one of 21 local qualifiers.
Nolen, who said he didn't sleep a wink the night before, squandered his lead after only eight holes.
"I was just trying to stay alive. I started five over after eight but I just tried to stay in the moment and make some birdies coming in," said Nolen.
With a birdie on No. 11, Redfern pulled ahead by one. He would make another birdie on No. 12 that was matched by Nolen. A second consecutive birdie on No. 13 for Nolen put the two former Austin Westlake teammates in a tie for the lead. The final five holes were anti-climactic as Redfern made three bogeys while Nolen made five straight pars for the three shot victory.
Nolen, who is headed to Indiana to play in next week's Junior PGA Championship, adds his name to an impressive list of past champions including Ben Crenshaw, Jeff Maggert and Scott Verplank.
"It's going to be awesome to have my name on that trophy with a lot of really great players," said Nolen. "I can't wait to see it on there next year."
Rounding out the top five were Jake Potter of Dallas at 220, Matthew Perrine of Austin and Andrew Hudson of Burleson at 222.
The top-15 finishers earned exemptions into next year's State Junior Championship as well as invitations to this fall's Texas Cup Invitational and next year's HP Byron Nelson Junior Championship.
College coaches from Rice, SMU, Baylor, Houston Baptist, Texas A&M International, St. Edward's, SCAD, UTSA and more were in attendance this week to watch one of the strongest fields of the year.
View results for Texas State Boys' Junior Golf Championship