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In final junior event, Brennan takes the Maridoe Junior Invite
Michael Brennan and caddie on a browned-out Maridoe GC (Ryan Frazer/Agora Golf photo)
Michael Brennan and caddie on a browned-out Maridoe GC (Ryan Frazer/Agora Golf photo)

Maridoe keeps knocking it out of the park.

As one of the few courses to hold events for top amateurs and pros alike during quarantine, Maridoe Golf Club hosted a junior invitational for some of the biggest names in junior golf. The club waived the $250 entry fee for the players but accepted donations to benefit the club’s caddies.

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Not far from where the PGA Tour is returning at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, players at the Maridoe Junior were battling some of the same Texas heat as at nearby Colonial CC. High temperatures were at or above 90 all three days of the tournament, though the final morning was a little cooler.

The field of 51 of the nation’s top junior boys was selected based on World Amateur Golf Rankings, Scratch Players World Amateur Rankings, Golfweek Junior Rankings, and Junior Golf Scoreboard. With no cut, the field got to experience the entirety of the 54-hole event.

Coming out on top of the stacked field was Wake Forest commit Michael Brennan of Leesburg, Va.

Opening the tournament with a 2-over 74, Brennan was three shots off the lead. Closing the gap to one shot following a 73 at Wednesday’s round, Brennan took over on the final day.

Firing off four birdies on the front nine for an outward 32, Brennan traded birdies and bogeys on the back nine for a final-round 3-under 69 and the win. Brennan finished three rounds at even par.

It wasn't stress-free however, as Brennan stepped to the final tee with a three-shot lead but took a double-bogey for a slender one-shot final margin over 15-year-old Zach Heffernan, the reigning Texas Junior champion who posted a 69 one group ahead of Brennan.

After allowing only one under-par score through two rounds, Maridoe played a tad easier on Thursday, allowing four scores of 69.

The overnight leader Luke Clanton of Florida shot 72 to finish third at 2 over, two shots behind Brennan. Clanton started the day one ahead of Brennan but found himself six shots back after turning at 40. But he made a strong comeback on the back nine with a 32 to get back into the top three.

Clay Merchent of Indiana was fourth at 5 over, and Jason Dowell of Oklahoma shared fifth with Keaton Vo of Texas.

As the champion of the Maridoe Junior Invitational, Brennan will be a guest of Nick Faldo and Albert Huddleston at the 2020 Masters Tournament which will be held November 12-15.

As for Maridoe, its junior invitational is just the beginning of a string of high-profile championship hosting over the next year. The Southern Amateur will be played there in July, and the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational is scheduled for September.

A new event, the East West Matches, will be held in November, and the biggest yet -- Maridoe's first USGA event -- will be played next April when the U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship returns after a forced cancellation in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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ABOUT THE Maridoe Junior Invitational

This 54-hole event features a field of 51 elite junior boys. There is no cut, and the field is filled by invitation according to a player’s position in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Scratch Players World Amateur Ranking, Golfweek Junior Rankings and Junior Golf Scoreboard.

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