Taylor, Shah prevail at DJ; Knaffle finishes in top 10

DJ - TaylorThe inaugural Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship crowned its first victors Monday, and the boys and girls winners emerged in completely different ways on a cool, damp day at TPC Myrtle Beach.

Blake Taylor (Atkinson, N.C.), an East Carolina signee, opened the day with a three-shot lead and pulled away from the field on the back nine, finishing the tournament at 2-over par. Mt. Pleasant’s Jamie Wilson finished four strokes back in second place.

On the girls side, Delaney Shah (North Potomac, Md.), who will be playing at Louisville in the the fall, opened the round trailing leader Zhu Wenqi of China by nine strokes. Shah made four birdies and four bogeys en route to shooting an even par 72, the best round of the tournament in the girls division, and she rallied for a two-stroke victory.

Shah finished the event at 16-over par, but she played the final two rounds in 2-over. As a result of snow in Maryland, Shah said she had only putted on grass three times since Christmas and struggled with her putter while shooting 86 in the opening round. Shah spent extra time on the practice putting green prior to the second round and her work was rewarded.

St. James freshman Smith Knaffle made a strong showing, finishing tied for 10th place at 30-over on a difficult course under even more difficult conditions. Teammate Jordan White finished 25th. For the boys, Patrick Golden finished 13th and 16-over. North Myrtle Beach’s Matthew Griego placed 17th at 19-over, and Kevin Burris of Conway placed 54th at 50-over.

Taylor, who led wire-to-wire, started the day with five consecutive pars and was in command until consecutive bogeys on the sixth and seventh holes and a double on nine, a stretch that saw his lead reduced over Wilson reduced to one. Taylor, as he did throughout the week, answered the challenge, birdieing the 12th and the 13th holes to push his lead back to three. He made par on the next four holes and drained a long birdie putt on No. 18 to complete his final round 74.

Alexander DeRosa of Atlanta, Ga., fired the round of the tournament with a 69 on Monday. DeRosa made five birdies and was the only player to break 70 during the event. After struggling in the opening two rounds, DeRosa moved up 31 places on Monday and finished tied for 17th.

The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship attracted 90 kids from 12 states and eight countries to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the 54-hole event. Among the countries represented at the event are Canada, China, England, Japan, Philippines, Scotland and Sweden. Nearly a quarter of the field will be comprised of international players. A significant part of the tournament’s appeal is TPC Myrtle Beach, one of the Grand Strand’s most decorated layouts. TPC Myrtle Beach has hosted the Senior PGA Tour Championship and been ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” by Golf Digest, making it an ideal venue to test golf’s rising young stars.

 

Photo courtesy of MB Golf Holiday

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