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Williams and Xu take Southern California Junior Amateur titles
Courtesy of SCGA
Courtesy of SCGA

Anchored by three consecutive birdies to begin his round on Sunday, Connor Williams of Escondido outdueled defending champion Ryan Voois to capture the 2021 Southern California Junior Amateur Golf Championship at Morongo GC at Tukwet Canyon.

Williams carded an impressive eight-under 64 in the first round to build a two-stroke lead over Voois, who capped his Saturday round with an eagle on hole No. 18 to give him sole possession of second place heading into Sunday.

“My game plan was just to try and keep it in play all week,” Williams said. “My irons and wedges were pretty good, so just go from there. The greens were rolling good, so it was pretty easy to make putts.”

Williams ended his first round with birdies on three of his final four holes, then started his Sunday round with three consecutive birdies. Heading into the Hole No. 4 tee box, the 17-year-old had built a five-stroke lead.

“I was just trying to start off well so that I could pace myself the rest of the round. I hit the fairway on (all holes) and made a couple of putts,” Williams said.

From there, he stayed consistent with mostly pars through the rest of his round to coast to the title, maintaining a lead of at least three strokes over Voois and Kyle An of Aliso Veijo, who was paired with Williams in the final round.

Two more birdies on holes 12 and 13 all but sealed the wire-to-wire victory for Williams, who finished 12-under 132 over 36 holes for his first state title.

“This was my first time playing in this tournament so I’m pretty stoked to get the win. I knew my game was in a good spot coming in here so I was glad that I was able to execute,” Williams said.

An enjoyed a back-nine surge that included four birdies. Finishing nine-under, he took home runner-up honors.

Ryan Arnold and Voois shared third place, finishing at eight-under. Rounding out the top five Park Hogan of Walnut shot 139.

Williams is the seventh SoCal Junior Amateur Boys Champion, this championship started in 2015 as a junior amateur boys and girls event run by the SCGA and SCPGA.

Girls' Division

Kelly Xu, the 2020 SCGA Women’s Player of the Year out of Claremont, successfully defended her title at the 2021 Southern California Junior Amateur Golf Championship at Morongo GC at Tukwet Canyon.

“I’m so honored to be able to play this well,” Xu said. “It’s just an enormous confidence-booster and it really puts into perspective how much work I’ve put in and how lucky I am to be where I’m at today.”

After one round, she shared first place with Jasmine Leovao of Oceanside.

Xu sunk two birdies on her last two holes on the front.

“Usually I play well when my putting is really rolling, so today I had a lot of eight-foot par putts that managed to roll in,” Xu said. “I really figured out how to put the right amount of pressure on myself to help me execute my shots.”

Erica Lee of Arcadia, who trailed the leaders by one stroke heading into Sunday, notched a pair of birdies as well to stay within reach of Xu.

Paired with Leovao in the leading group, Xu and Lee continued to battle throughout the back nine.

After each of them birdied hole No. 16, Lee bogeyed her final two holes, whereas Xu parred, then posted her eleventh birdie of the weekend on Hole No. 18 to seal the victory.

“My favorite shot was definitely the second shot on the last hole,” Xu said. “There was definitely still a possibility of the tables turning so I wanted to keep calm.”

Xu chose a seven-iron from about 150 yards out and planted her shot two feet from the hole for a tap-in birdie.

“We chose a club up,” Xu said. “That was probably my best shot of the day.”

Xu finished the tournament shooting nine-under 135, posting only two bogeys in her 36-hole weekend.

“The mental aspect was really good this weekend and the putting was also working really well for me,” Xu said.

She is the seventh SoCal Junior Amateur Girls Champion. This championship started in 2015 as a junior amateur boys and girls event run by the SCGA and SCPGA.

Lee shot 139 to finish runner-up, while Koo (141), Kim Frances of Rolling Hills Estates (142) and Annika Ishiyama of Costa Mesa (143) each secured top-five finishes.

View results for SCGA Junior Amateur
ABOUT THE SCGA Junior Amateur

The Southern California Junior Amateur Golf Championship is co- hosted by the SCGA and the SCPGA. Started in 2015, this championship was created to determine the best junior golfers in Southern California. The boys championship is open to Southern California male amateur golfers with an established USGA Handicap Index of 5.4 or below who are 18 years of age or younger. The girls championship is open to Southern California female amateur golfers with an established USGA Handicap Index of 9.4 or below who are 18 years of age or younger. The Championships are conducted over 36 holes of stroke play.

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