Utah’s Ogden ekes out Jr. Classic win
Clay Ogden of West Point, Utah, held onto the top spot at the AJGA R.H. Crossland Foundation/St. Regis Aspen Junior Golf Classic at the Aspen Golf Club Thursday, shooting an even-par 71 in the final round to win his second career AJGA boys title.
Amanda Blumenherst of Scottsdale, Ariz., meanwhile, carded a 4-over-par 75 to secure a comfortable, 16-stroke victory in the girls division.
The 54-hole event, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, featured 99 golfers between the ages of 13 and 18 from 21 states, including 43 Colorado natives, four Aspen locals, as well as Derek Tolan of Highlands Ranch, who earlier this week became the youngest qualifier ever to compete in the U.S. Open at 16.
Starting the day with a one-stroke lead, Ogden was neck and neck with runner-up Kenny Coakley of Lakewood throughout the round. Despite outstanding even-par performances from both players, a 71 was just enough to give Ogden the boys title.
“I didn’t do anything overly great today,” Ogden said after the round. “I just played a solid game.”
Ogden maintained a steady pace with a par finish on the front nine, and matched his bogey on hole No. 14 with a birdie on the par-3 17th hole to finish with a three-day total of 69-71-71 – 212.
“I had nine pars on the front nine,” he said. “After Coakley missed his birdie putt [on No. 16], I knew I still had a pretty good chance if I stayed consistent.”
Coakley was 2-under headed into the back nine, but bogeyed on holes No. 12 and 17 to fall from the lead. Alex Prugh of Spokane, Wash., dropped two birdies on the final nine to card the day’s lowest round, 69, and tie Coakley for second place at 213.
Danny Bowen of Albuquerque, N.M., shot a 2-over-par 73 to take fourth place with a total of 215, and defending champion Jake Hermes of Durango tied with Will Hanna of The Woodlands, Texas, at 217 to round out the boy’s top five.
In the girls division, Blumenherst got off to a rough start with two bogeys and one double-bogey on the front nine. The 15-year-old, however, pulled herself together and turned in a par finish on the back nine for a three-day total of 67-71-75 – 213.
“Today I tried to forget about the first two days and play one shot at a time,” she said. “My putts were falling [the first two days] and today they didn’t. I think I played my best game this week, though.”
The victory marks Blumenherst’s second career AJGA title. She captured the crown at the AJGA Arizona Junior Classic in March.
“I’ve been playing well and see an improvement in my game,” she said. “My goal for the year was to win two AJGA events, and I can’t believe I’ve already done it.”
Tiffany Tavee of Gilbert, Ariz., scored a 5-over-par 76 to take second place with a three-day total of 229. Emily Hoeper of Kansas City, Mo., finished in third place with a total of 230.
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Perhaps, Radamus’ brief moment on top was a preview of coming attractions. He hopes so. Radamus certainly got the season off to a great start by finishing 27th in the opener.