Kaitlyn Schroeder & Max Herendeen win Junior PGA Championships
Kaitlyn Schroeder and Max Herendeen (Junior PGA photo)
Kaitlyn Schroeder and Max Herendeen (Junior PGA photo)

Newly crowned Junior PGA Champions, Alabama-bound Kaitlyn Schroeder and University of Illinois Commit Max Herendeen, found commonality on their way to winning at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on Friday - a pair of college coaches instrumental to their games and the execution of their game plans.

Herendeen, of Bellevue, Washington, cruised to a 5-shot win while Schroeder, of Jacksonville, Florida, saved her best for last with a 6-under 66 to win by two strokes at the 46th Junior PGA Championships.

Herendeen finished 16-under 272 after shooting 4-under 68 in the final round. Schroeder overcame a two-shot deficit to win the Patty Berg Trophy at 14-under 274.

“It was definitely a ball-striking week,” Herendeen said. “I didn’t putt as well as I probably could have. I struck the ball well. I left a lot of shots out there with the putter. I just knew if I kept giving myself opportunities, I’d have good chances. Mentally I got myself around the course really well, played to the smart side of the holes, and really eliminated the big numbers. That was my goal for the week, no doubles and we got through the week with no doubles.”

Schroeder played in the group ahead of the girls’ leaders. She had to wait to see Rianne Mikhaela Malixi bogey No. 18 before celebrating her win.

“It was a good day,” Schroeder said. “I finally was able to make a good amount of putts. I made a couple of 40-footers, which always helps. I played well the day before yesterday. So that gave me a little more confidence coming into today. I like chasing. They only had a two-shot lead. So coming in today, I felt comfortable where I was. I knew if I did what I did today - not make any mistakes, hit quality golf shots, hit quality putts, it could go my way. I just wanted to give myself a chance to win today and I did.”

Both Schroeder and Herendeen credit two college coaches for the success in their golf games that led to wins at Cog Hill. Schroeder is the daughter of University of North Florida head men’s golf coach, Scott Schroeder. She is a University of Alabama commit.

“I love having my dad as a coach,” Schroeder said. “Him being a coach and growing up around it has been great for me. He teaches me the same way he teaches his players. It’s helped me learn more about the game. Seeing how his players do things and comparing it to how I do things has been great for me.”

Playing 130 miles from his future campus in Champaign-Urbana, Herendeen won the Jack Nicklaus Trophy with his future coach in attendance - Illinois head men’s golf coach Mike Small.

“More than anything, since I committed, he’s been a huge mentor to me,” said Herendeen about Small. “We talk regularly, just about what I need to improve on, what I need to get better at, the mental side of the game. He’s been a huge part of my entire golf game. I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Malixi, from the Philippines, finished at 12-under 276 to take second in the girls' championship. Rounding out the top five was Kiara Romero (-11, 277) from San Jose, California; Katie Li (-8, 280) from Basking Ridge, New Jersey; Thanana Kotchasanmanee (-8, 280) and Julia Misemer (-8, 280) from Overland Park, Kansas.

Ethan Gao, of Alpharetta, Georgia, shot 11-under 277 for second in the boys' championship. Rounding the boys' top five was No. 4 ranked Nicholas Gross (-10, 278) from Downingtown, Pennsylvania; Preston Stout (-9, 279) from Dallas and Jay Leng (-6, 282) from San Diego.

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ABOUT THE Junior PGA Championship

One of golf’s major championships for juniors, the Boys 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 a popular stop on the national junior circuit for many of 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 by 5 strokes in 2017. 72-hole, stroke-play Championship, with a cut after 36 holes to the low 70 plus ties. The Boys Junior PGA Championship is open to males who are no older than 18 years of age by the end of the tournament.

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