Chun-an Yu (AJGA photo)
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Tied for the lead on a Sunday afternoon at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, 17-year-old Chun-an Yu made an eight-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to finish at 5-under-par and win The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf.
“I played 17 and 18 just like I was playing on the PGA TOUR. The 18th hole is a very good memory. I made a birdie on the last hole to win, so it was a great moment,” said Yu, who will improve upon his No. 6 ranking in the Polo Golf Rankings.
In cooperation with the PGA TOUR, the American Junior Golf Association brought 78 players, ages 13-18, from 20 states and 15 countries to THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for a special junior golf experience. The 7,190-yard course setup and hole locations for Sunday’s final round matched that of the final round of the 2015 PLAYERS Championship.
Yu, from Taoyuan, Taiwan, started the final round tied for ninth at even par, six strokes behind the leaders. His steady ascent up the leaderboard started with a birdie on No. 1, and his 1-under-par front nine pulled him to within one stroke of the lead as the final groups made the turn.
At one point, there were six co-leaders at 2-under-par. After consecutive birdies on Nos. 11 and 12, Yu joined the pack and shared the lead at 3-under-par with Andrew Kozan (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) and Davis Shore (Knoxville, Tennessee). Shortly after this trio reached 3-under-par, thunderstorms forced a 2-hour, 42-minute delay.
After the delay, Yu played his remaining five holes in 2-under-par, and a birdie on the closing hole proved to be the difference. After a long and aggressive drive in the fairway, Yu hit a 136-yard pitching wedge to set-up his tournament-winning birdie.
“I hit a great shot in there and gave myself a great opportunity for birdie,” said Yu, who also won the Western Junior Championship in June. “On the putt I stayed focused and didn’t think too much because I just needed to be perfect and the putt would go in.”
The birdie gave Yu a final-round 67, the day’s lowest score, and the clubhouse lead at 73-71-67 – 211. Shortly after Yu posted 5-under-par, Kozan birdied No. 16 and joined him atop the leaderboard. A three-putt bogey on No. 17 proved to be his undoing, as he finished one stroke behind and in second place (72-70-70 – 212).
Eugene Hong of Sanford, Florida, and Andy Zhang of Windermere, Florida, tied for third at 3-under-par, while Marc Hammer of Oetigheim, Germany, and Davis Shore of Knoxville, Tennessee, finished tied for fifth at 2-under-par.
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ABOUT THE Junior Players Championship
One of the AJGA series of tournaments that
require an invitation to participate. Format is
54 holes of stroke play.
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