It is true what they say: “No winter lasts forever and no spring skips its turn!” The Middle Atlantic PGA kicked-off their first official junior golf tournament of the season in a grand-fashion, with the annual Spring Fling event at Bull Run Golf Club in Haymarket, Virginia.
As the juniors said hello to Spring; Spring welcomed them back with open arms. And the juniors expected nothing less from the season of sunshine, rainfall and flowers blooming. All the juniors ultimately pushed through all of what Spring had to throw at their way.
BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION
The first round for the Boy’s Championship Division proved to be filled with excitement as six golfers scored under par. This included 2019 Champion Ronnie Kim, who carded a 1-under-par (71) during the opening rounds. Kim played very conservative throughout the event, birdieing three holes against two bogies his first day and then four birdies against one bogey the second.
The 14-year-old from Olney, Md., finished the first day four strokes off day one leader and single round low scorer Josh Duangmanee (Fairfax, Va.) who carded a 5-under-par (67).
“I just tried to go as low as possible during the first round because I knew it was going to rain the next day,” Duangmanee said. “5-under is my lowest round ever and that is exciting coming into the season.
“I JUST TRIED TO GO AS LOW AS POSSIBLE[…] 5-UNDER IS MY LOWEST ROUND”
According to Kim he wasn’t thinking about winning, but about what he does best, “focus on his game” and Duangmanee was just trying to shoot as close to par as possible.
This was apparent as Kim and Duangmanee were both in the final grouping of the day. As Duangmanee slowly fell back from his day-one lead, carding a double-bogey on the first hole and another devastating double-bogey on the Ninth Hole, after receiving a penalty for playing a wrong ball, Kim remained focused.
Kim turned in his final round scorecard at 3-under-par, to finish the tournament at 4-under-par (71-69—140), while Duangmanee turned in his, finishing with a tournament total 1-under par (67-76—143).
GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION
There was no rest for, 14-year-old, Sydney Hackett (Ashburn, Va) during the off-season. She kept solo lead during this year’s Spring Fling carding back-to-back 1-under-par, 71’s, beating here opponents by more than seven strokes.
“I put in a lot of work during the off season,” Hackett said. “I practiced a lot of short game from 60 yards and also worked on my putting.”
Recovery, was certainly the word of the day for Hackett as she carded four birdies and three bogies her first day. Then her second day she made six birdies alongside three bogies and a double-bogey.
When asked about the focus she displayed on the course, Hackett said, “I took each day hole-by-hole and shot-by-shot.” She was the only girl golfer to break par during the event.
“I TOOK EACH DAY HOLE-BY-HOLE & SHOT-BY-SHOT”
While this win gave her a lot of confidence, she said she is just happy to be back on the course playing the game with all of her friends.
There was a three-way tie for second place.
However MAPGA rules stipulate, tie by runner-ups will be settled by first round lowest scores.
PATRIOT BOYS (14&UNDER)
Another golfer who made a huge splash during the MAPGA Junior Tour season opener was 14-year-old, Preston Worch of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Worch led the field the entire event and opened the first day with a 4-under-par (68).
He grinned through the first day after a double-bogey start on the first two holes, making five birdies and two eagles against one bogey on his back nine.
During his first day he holed out from 101 yards to make an eagle. This was his first. He led the field by more than seven strokes coming into the second day of competition.
“ALL I COULD THINK WAS SCORE LOW AND KEEP MAKING BIRDIES”
“It was awesome to have a seven stroke lead, it was an incredible experience,” Worch said. “All I could think of was score low and keep making birdies.”
During the second day Worch struggled a little bit to maintain the momentum he set forth the first day.
Grinding once again the second day he was able to hold onto his lead after nine holes with 2-over-par finish to complete the tournament with a two-day total 2-under-par (68-38—106).
He thanked his parents for taking him an hour away to play one of the best rounds of his young career.
PATRIOT GIRLS (14&UNDER)
Kanchana Duangsam may be small, but she surely packs a punch on the golf course. With a lot of spirit Duangsam took the course the first carding a 2-over-par, 74. She made four birdies against six bogies.
Learning from her past shot she turned it around and made three bogies and made even par the rest (74-39–113).
“KEEP CALM, FORGET ABOUT THE BAD SHOTS AND FOCUS ON THE NEXT ONE”
“My thoughts were to keep calm, forget about the bad shots and focus on the next one,” she said. “But, most importantly have fun.”
She thanked her coach for teaching her to swing, her parents for supporting her and her fellow golfers for a fun tournament.
PATRIOT BOYS (15-18)
It was a small field, but tight competition for the Boys 15-18 Patriot Division. The foursome had some close competition between Joe Stover (Cockeysville, Md.) and Benjamin Siriboury (Clarksville, Md.). Siriboury held the lead coming into the second day after carding a 3-over-par (75) his first day.
Stover came back the second day with a reckoning after he struggled hitting greens and putting during the first round. Coming into the second day he was three strokes off the lead.
“I learned from the first day and pushed myself to recover,” Stover said. “As result I started to hit greens and save par.”
Stover was able to finish the final day at even par for a tournament total, 6-over-par (78-72—150). The second day he made four birdies against, four bogies.
“THIS WIN IS THE BEGINNING TO A GREAT SEASON”
This was his first tournament with the Junior Tour and he says he is looking forward to many more.
“This win is the beginning to a great season,” Stover said. “And I’m looking forward to warmer weather and low scores.”