(Via CJGA) Innisfil, Ontario – Gerry Mei, Sarah Gallagher, Bradley Parker and Vanessa Borovilos are your Mizuno National Junior Champions for the 2018 season. Each player rose to the occasion during the final round to take home the trophy in what turned out to be a tight race in all divisions. National Pines Golf Course proved to be a fair yet challenging test for the players as they navigated windy and cool conditions during Thursdays Final Round.
In the Junior Boys (U19) division, Gerry Mei of North York, Ontario kept his game steady, posting his third straight sub 75 round of the week to take home top honors on the tough 6,800 yard championship layout. His four rounds of 76-73-72-74 for a four-day total of 295 (7-over) was enough to earn him a one-shot victory over Yuqi Liu (Thornhill, ON).
The 15-year-old Mei got off to a bit of a rocky start on his day, making back to back double bogeys on the fourth and fifth hole. He bounced back quickly however, with birdies on hole six and eight to close his front nine at 2-over (38). He would make another birdie on the 10th hole to get it back to 1-over, before bogeys on hole 11 and 12 had him at 3-over for the day and 8-over for the tournament heading to the 18th tee, in a tie with Liu.
Both Mei and Liu managed to hit the par-5 18th green in two, leaving themselves with long eagle putts to potentially take the championship. Mei rolled his long put close, narrowly missing the hole for eagle and tapped in his birdie putt. Liu would miss his four-foot birdie putt just to the left of the hole and make par to leave Mei with the championship.
Speaking after his round Mei attributed his solid putting in the final round to ultimately helping him to win the championship.
“I definitely had some bad shots here and there, couple of lost shots and errant drives, it wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, but my putting was definitely there.”
Mei also said that playing with strong competitors helped him to keep his focus, given the cold and breezy conditions during the final round.
“What really kept me focused on my round was my competitors. They just kept it really competitive out there, that helped me keep my focused and not just complaining about the temperature.”
Junior Girls (U19) Champion Sarah Gallagher becomes first player to win consecutive titles at the Mizuno National Championship since Brittany Henderson hoisted the trophy in three consecutive seasons in 2006, 2007 & 2008. Brittany is the sister of 2018 CP Canadian Women’s Open Champion Brooke Henderson who also hoisted the Mizuno Trophy during her Junior days with a victory in 2010.
When asked what it was like to have her name on the same trophy as Brooke Henderson, Gallagher was grateful.
“It means a lot to be on the same trophy as Brooke Henderson and it definitely feels like a statement to have it in back to back seasons”.
The 14-year-old Gallagher won the Mizuno National Championship in the Bantam Girls (U15) division in 2017 at Green Hills Golf Club in London. When asked which championship felt better to her, Gallagher said that the 2018 championship felt the best so far.
“I feel like this year, I feel a little bit better about it because it was a longer distance and there were more competitors in the division”.
The win this year was hard fought and came by one shot over Erin Kim (Toronto, ON) who lead the tournament through the first two days of competition. Gallagher had her worst round of the competition on Thursday, firing a final round 83 to go with her three previous rounds of 80-79-72 to finish the tournament at 26-over-par (314). In the end her four-shot lead heading into the final round proved to be enough to squeak out the victory over Kim who shot 79-79-77-80 for a four-day total of 315 (27-over).
In the Bantam Girls (U15) division, 12-year-old Vanessa Borovilos (Toronto, ON) continued adding titles to her breakthrough rookie season on the CJGA Junior circuit, closing her tournament with a final round 76 to go with first, second and third round scores of 73-80-75 to post a four-day total of 304 (16-over) which proved enough for a one-shot victory over Katie Cranston (Oakville, ON) who closed at 305 (17-over).
The 2018 Drive-Chip & Putt Champion has had an amazing season of golf this year. Her victory at the Mizuno National Championship becomes her third victory on the CJGA Junior Tour this year with earlier victories at the CJGA Junior at Royal Woodbine and the David Hearn Championship Series event at Angus Glenn Golf Club earlier in the year.
Borovilos began the day five shots back of Cranston but played solid all day, making 15-pars on her card to go with one birdie and two bogies on the day. When asked about her mindset going into the round and how she managed to move into the lead the three-time winner had this to say.
“I was 7 down after the 2nd hole, so I just tried to stay focused and I kept on moving up, by the 4th hole I just started thinking an focusing that I could win this”.
The Bantam Boys (U15) division was another tight race during the final round with 14-year-old Bradley Parker coming from behind to post a four-day total of 304 (16-over) and a one-shot victory over Hunter Kolm (Aurora, ON) and Ellis Kinnaird (Carleton Place, ON). Third round leader Justin Matthews (Little Britain, ON) faltered in round four, posting a final round 84 to finish in a tie for fourth.
For Complete Results from The Final Round – Click Here