Leighton wins California Junior Girls' title in match-play debut
Abigail Leighton (NCGA photo)
Abigail Leighton (NCGA photo)

As it turns out, match play suits Abigail Leighton pretty well. The Santa Rosa, Calif., native had never played in that format before. In her match-play debut at the California Junior Girls’ Championship at Quail Lodge and Golf Course in Carmel, Calif., Leighton won the whole thing.

Leighton took the No. 18 seed on the match-play bracket after rounds of 77-78 at Quail Lodge. The beautiful thing about match play, however, is that with each new round, the slate is wiped clean.

Leighton drew No. 1 seed Jacqueline Lucena of Chico, Calif., in the final match. Leighton bogeyed her first two holes and immediately went 1 down. Birdies at Nos. 4, 5 and 6, however, gave her a 2-up lead.

She kept that lead through the turn, and ultimately that was the difference at the end of the match.

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ABOUT THE California Junior Girls

The California Junior Girls State Championship was the first of its kind on the West Coast. It began in 1950 at the Old Del Monte Golf Course in Monterey. In 1974, the tournament was moved to Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach where it continues to be played today.

Format is 36 holes of stroke play qualifying from which the low 32 advance to match play.

Players must have reached their 13th birthday by the first day of the tournament but not their 19th birthday on or before the last day of the tournament. (Players 9 to 12 years old considered at the discretion of the CWAC Committee.)

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