| “This is the most exciting moment of my life.” – Charlotte Simpson, PGA Jr. Champ. Qualifier |
The MAPGA Jr. PGA Championship hosted at the U.S. Naval Academy Golf Club finished with four competitors advancing to the 2017 Junior PGA Championship in St. Albans, Mo. and 14 players qualifying for the 2017 MAPGA Capital Cup.
Marshall Meisel won the Overall Boys Division with a two- day, 2-under-par total of 141. His short eagle putt on No. 14 vaulted him into contention after trailing his playing partner, Jaron Leasure by four strokes.
“I was about 195 to the flagstick and tried to hit a 4-iron high cut and it flew well and stopped at about six feet and I made the eagle putt,” Meisel said. “It’s so cool to qualify for such a big tournament. I didn’t think I would qualify, to be honest. I thought it’d be 6 or 7 under to qualify, but scores were high and I stayed consistent.”
A 17th hole birdie by Meisel and an18th hole double-bogey from Leasure gave Meisel the sole lead by two.
“I knew where I stood at 14, up by four,” Leasure said. “After Marshall’s eagle we both went to the next hole and hit great drives. I knew it was on from there.”
In the Overall Girls Division, Caroline Curtis successfully qualified for the second year in a row with two, even scores of 73.
“I putted well from long distances and that kept me in the tournament,” Curtis said. “My whole weekend was solid, nothing too great and no mistakes either. It was a strong two days.”
Curtis started Round 2 with a bogey, but quickly recovered to earn a qualifying position.
“I played last year at the PGA Jr. Championship and it was one of my favorite events of the year,” Curtis said. “The big tournamens, like this, have the best competition. You have to be creative with your shots and it’s a lot of fun.”
Charlotte Simpson birdied her last three holes to qualify by one stroke, shooting a even-73 in Round 2.
“Today, I kept grinding away and making birdies when it counted,” Simpson said. “I was so surprised when I came into scoring after all the groups were in and saw I had qualified. This is the most exciting moment of my life.”
The Overall Boys Division had five players tied for first place after Round 1. Round 2 did not dissapoint with some heated competition for the last qualifying position.
An errant second shot into the bunker and a three-putt gave Leasure a six on the final hole of competition, but he redeemed himself. A playoff was needed to determine the second qualifying position for the Junior PGA Championship after Leasure, Brandon Berry and Kurtis Grant finished tied with scores of 143.
“I had a good distance and tried to use the wind to my advantage, but it took me into the bunker,” Leasure said of his 18th hole. “I was fortunate to get into the playoff and after we tied the first hole, I knew anything could happen. I took an aggressive drive to the fringe of the green and two-putted to victory.”
Both Marshall and Leasure will compete in the PGA Junior Championship at the Country Club of Albans.
“This is huge and I’m very happy to qualify for a national event,” Leasure said. “This is going to be a great tournament with a strong field. The players here in the Middle Atlantic are competitive, so it will be amazing to compete against other strong players from across the country.”
Qualifying for the MAPGA Capital Cup, a Ryder Cup-style tournament between Virginia and Maryland, also took place at the U.S. Naval Academy today. A complete list of players who qualified is available here.
Full Photos from today’s event will be available on the MAPGA Junior Facebook Page tomorrow.