GRANITEVILLE, S.C. – The key to winning the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, it turns out, was a steady hand -- not major experience.
Holding a lead for the first time in a national event, Zachary Olsen showed the mettle of a proven performer Sunday, playing solidly during a difficult final round to capture one of the most prestigious titles in junior golf.
“It’s not going to sink in for a while,” said Olsen, who closed with 73 to finish at 7-under 209, three shots clear of Wyndham Clark, Robby Shelton, Taylor Moore and Matthew NeSmith.
Though he never previously had held the lead in a major tournament, Olsen previewed the experience while playing the back nine Saturday with a comfortable cushion and in front of TV cameramen. Dressed in an orange Oklahoma State shirt and white pants, and sporting wraparound shades, Olsen was unflinching in his pursuit of his first significant title Sunday.
The finish wasn’t pretty -- snap-hook off 18 tee, blast out of the fairway bunker and ensuing bogey -- but staked to a four-shot lead, it didn’t have to be. At the trophy presentation, Olsen hoisted the Gibbs Trophy and slipped into the winner’s gold blazer, about two sizes too big for his slight frame.
View results for Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Tournament