Major upsets in PNGA Junior Boys’ match play; top seeds advance in Junior Girls’
Upsets ruled the day at the 62nd Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur, while the top seeds marched on through the bracket at the 61st Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’.
The two championships are being held concurrently at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash., and are conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA).
In today’s afternoon Round of 16 matches in the Junior Boys’, the two top seeds – Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash. and Spencer Tibbits of Vancouver, Wash. – were both defeated. Highsmith lost 2 and 1 to Austin Carnese of Portland, and Mason Phalen of Kenmore, Wash. beat Tibbits, 1 up.
Highsmith had come into this championship on a high note. Just 16, last week he held the lead at the Washington State Men’s Amateur in the final round before missing a playoff by a single stroke. Earlier this summer, he finished second in the WJGA State Championship, was the qualifying medalist for the U.S. Junior Amateur, and won the AJGA Ryan Moore Junior Championship. He had shot rounds of 71-66 in this championship’s stroke-play qualifying to earn the No. 1 seed.
Carnese was 2-up on Highsmith late in the match, but Highsmith won holes 13 and 14 to square the match. Then Carnese immediately won holes 15 and 16, and closed out the match with a par on the 17th hole.
Tibbits, the No. 2 seed, had won both the 2016 Oregon Junior Amateur and Oregon Junior Stroke Play Championship, and also won the 3A high school championship in Washington. Tibbits also won the 2016 Pacific Northwest PGA Junior Championship, and also qualified for the 2016 U.S. Junior.
Tibbits had a slim 1-up lead on Phalen after 14 holes, but Phalen birdied the par-4 15th and the par-4 17th to build his own 1-up lead. The two players parred the 18th, with the match going to Phalen.
In the Junior Girls’, Ellie Slama of Salem, Ore. shot rounds of 69-68 in the championship’s stroke play qualifying to earn the No. 1 seed heading into today’s match play, and she seems intent on seeing this through to the end, easily handling her Round of 16 opponent, Summer Marshall of West Linn, Ore., 7 and 6. Slama didn’t lose a hole in the match, and closed it out with a par on the par-3 12th.
The Girls’ No. 2 seed, Brittany Kwon of Bremerton, Wash., also cruised through her Round of 16 match, defeating Katelann Soth of Covington, Wash., 6 and 5.
Slama and Kwon have gone one and two before, with Slama winning the Pacific Northwest PGA Junior Championship earlier this summer, and Kwon taking second place. That championship was held at The Home Course, so both players are familiar with the layout, and are finding it suits their games.
Montgomery Ferreira, the No. 3 seed, also advanced to the quarterfinals, defeating Samantha Hui of Kennewick, Wash. 6 and 5. Montgomery’s older sister, Jordan, won this championship in 2012.
In the Junior Boys’ Amateur, the Rounds of 32 and 16 were played today. The Junior Girls’ Amateur competitors played their Round of 16 today. Tomorrow, both championships will hold their quarterfinal and semifinal matches, with the final match in each championship held on Friday. The first tee time for the Boys’ quarterfinal matches is 7:30 a.m., while the Girls’ first quarterfinal tee time is 8:06 a.m.
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Both championships are considered as counting events for the World Amateur Golf Ranking.