Caleb Surratt and his grandfather Brad with the Junior PGA Championship trophy
parents, Lisa and Brent, had to stay back in Indian Trail, North Carolina, this week for work and a busy schedule with their three other children. So Caleb made the trip with “Pop” - his paternal grandfather, Brad Surratt. A 7-hour road trip with Pop ended with Surratt lifting the Jack Nicklaus Trophy.
Surratt delivered a 1-under-par 70 in the final round of the 45th Boys Junior PGA Championship to finish 16-under (69-67-62-70--268) and claim the win at Kearney Hills Golf Links.
After Surratt’s record-setting third round, he focused on “taking results out of play and just giving his all on every shot.” After Thursday’s final round, he admitted it was hard to not pay attention to what others were doing around him with leaderboards at every five holes.
“It’s impossible to not focus on scores, and that’s usually what I do best in the final round is sticking to my own game plan, but today was a little harder with those out there,” Surratt said. “Eventually in the end, what helped me is going through my process on every shot. It took away a lot of pressure.”
Surratt picked up a few birdies on the back nine and sealed his win with a putt for birdie on 18.
“All I could think about was what you’re doing is good enough and you don’t have to be perfect,” Surratt said. “I definitely made a lot of mistakes. Everyone else made mistakes. I think I did a lot of wrong with my game this week, but what I was focusing on is that I don’t have to be perfect to win. So when I held the trophy, that’s the main thing I was thinking is that’s the true validation.”
Four players - all in the Top 25 of the Rolex AJGA Rankings - finished tied for second: Nick Dunlap, of Huntsville, Alabama; Ben James, of Milford, Connecticut; Bryan Lee, of Fairfax, Virginia and Eric Lee, of Fullerton, California. Their 13-under marks for the week fell three strokes shy of the lead.
The top final round score went to Javier Delgadillo, 16, of El Paso, Texas, and Ethan Gao, of Alpharetta, Georgia. Delgadillo, a section qualifier, and Gao both shot 6-under 65. Delgadillo turned in his best performance of the tournament season with six birdies and no bogeys in his final round. Gao sank seven birdies, including six on the back nine. He rattled off consecutive birdies on 11, 12, 13 and 14.
One of the “wow” highlights in the final round was by Lexington native Cayden Pope, who sank a 60-foot birdie putt on hole No. 8.
But at the end of the four-day championship - one of the longest on the junior golf tournament circuit - it was Surratt at the awards ceremony, with a simple thank you for Pop.
“It’s such an honor to win this tournament and be a part of the event put on by the great members of the PGA of America. This is a world-class event,” he said. “I’d like to thank my granddad for bringing me. Hopefully we can keep momentum going into the rest of the summer.”
Pop’s New College Allegiance
2021 Boys Junior PGA champion Caleb Surratt made the 7-hour trip to Kearney Hill with his grandad, Brad Surratt, a life-long Duke fan. Surratt is a University of Tennessee commit, and UT coach Brennan Webb was onsite to see Caleb win and spend time with Pop.
“He was known for carrying his Duke umbrella and hat for 30 years, but once Caleb committed to college, Pop had to trade in the old Duke hat,” Brent Surratt, Caleb’s father and Brad’s son, said. “Their relationship is special but changing. Ten years plus of Pop running him to golf tournaments all over North Carolina and trying to help coach him into a young man has trended into Caleb trying to help Pop figure out his smart phone so he can meet Caleb somewhere as Caleb’s now driving and now very much thinking for himself.”
View results for Junior PGA Championship
ABOUT THE Junior PGA Championship
One of golf’s major championships for juniors, the
Junior PGA Championship is where the best in the
world get their start. Begun in 1976, at Walt Disney
World Resort in Orlando, the Championship has been
popular stop on the national junior circuit for many
today’s PGA touring professionals including Tiger
Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Pat Perez, who held the
record for 24 years until Akshay Bhatia shattered it
5 strokes in 2017. 72-hole, stroke-play
Championship, with a cut
after 36 holes to the low 70 plus ties. The Boys
Championship is open to males who are no older
than 18 years of
age by the end of the tournament.
View Complete Tournament Information