Quinn Riley all smiles after his
North Carolina Junior victory
THOMASVILLE, NC (June 30, 2017) - Overpowering the course and his opponents, 17-year-old Quinn Riley of Raleigh captured the 50th North Carolina Junior Boys' Championship Friday at Colonial Country Club in Thomasville.
Losing in the first round of last year's tournament, Riley entered the event this year with something to prove to himself. After going to the 18th hole in his first round match Wednesday morning. Riley said his goal for the rest of the week was to not play holes 17 or 18 again. He completed that goal Friday, winning in the semifinals 4 & 2, then finishing off the championship in the afternoon on the 15th hole with a 4 & 3 result.
"I started playing smarter around the course, using my length to my advantage," said Riley about the change of his playing strategy as the week progressed. In an impressive display of distance off the tee, Riley's 2-iron often traveled further than the driver of his final opponent, Seve Anfindsen of Apex.
Anfindsen, 18, advanced to the final by virtue of a 19 hole win over Zach Caudill of Wilkesboro. Three down on the tee of the par-4 14th, the 18-year-old Caudill summoned a comeback. He would birdie that hole, then win the long par-3 15th with par. When Anfindsen made a three putt bogey on 18, Caudill's up-and-down par sent the match to extra holes. On the par-4 1st, Caudill's tee shot missed the fairway, making it hard for him to access the flag tucked between two bunkers on the right side of the green. His approach would hit the green and bounce into a bunker. This time, Anfindsen was able to convert a two putt par and punch his ticket into the match play finals. "It was one of the best putts I hit all week," said Anfindsen "When it went in, I screamed 'Come on!' because it was just the emotion that came over me."
Riley, a rising high school senior, was the first player to move onto the finals, beating 14-year-old Narayan Mohan of Charlotte 4 & 2. Already 2 up in the match on the 330-yard par-4 12th, Riley used driver to place his tee shot in a greenside bunker. An up-and-down birdie matched Mohan to maintain the 2 up advantage. On the 232-yard par-3 15th, Riley hit 4-iron to the front of the green. He then rolled in a ludicrous 40-foot putt to go dormie, and won the next hole with par to secure the match.
Anfindsen would get off to a good start in the final match against Riley, winning the first hole when Riley could not get up-and-down to save par. The only other hole Anfindsen would win in the match was No. 9, when Riley pulled his driver out of bounds. Before that, Riley had squared the match on 3, then won holes 6, 7, and 8. Holding a 2 up advantage starting the back nine of Colonial Country Club, Riley did not let up off the pedal. He reached the par-5 10th in two shots for a two putt birdie to claim the hole.
Dormie on the par-3 15th, Riley faced a difficult up-and-down for par. With storm clouds forming overhead, he drained an 18-foot par putt that ultimately won the championship, as Anfindsen then missed a birdie try. "It still hasn't sunk in yet, I'm still hyped about that putt." Riley said in an interview adjacent to the 15th green. "Watching that putt go in really meant a lot, so I gave a nice fist pump." The skies then added to the electric atmosphere, a downpour drenching the crowd as it proceeded to the clubhouse. But Riley did not mind at all that it was raining on his parade.
"This is probably the best I've played in any tournament," Riley said about winning his first CGA title. "It gives me a lot of confidence going forward."
Anfindsen played in his first - and last - N.C. Junior Boys' Championship. He will begin his collegiate golf career in the fall at Southern Wesleyan. Though disappointed, Anfindsen will walk away from Colonial CC with good memories. "It's ultimately been a great week and one I will remember forever."
View results for North Carolina Junior
ABOUT THE North Carolina Junior
Open to boys from North Carolina ages 12-18 who
a USGA index of 18.3 or lower. One round of stroke
play determines round of 64 match play seeding.
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