Mallow’s James Sugrue tied for 30th with Hermitage’s Rowan Lester 70th after a week to remember at the Junior Players Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf at TPC Sawgrass.
The Irish pair had their worst rounds of the week on their second visit to the Stadium Course for the final round with Sugrue carding a seven over 79 to finish 13 shots behind winner Austen Truslow on 12 over 226 (73-74-79-).
Lester slipped to a closing 85 to share 70th on 237 (78-74-85) as Truslow closed with a three-ove 75 on the Stadium Course to complete a wire-to-wire victory.
In cooperation with the PGA TOUR, the American Junior Golf Association brought 78 players, aged 12-18 from 22 states and 19 countries to TPC Sawgrass for a special junior golf experience.
Sunday’s final round was played on the THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, and the 7,215-yard, par-72 layout matched the set-up used for the final round of the 2013 PLAYERS Championship.
According the official tourmament website:
…Truslow came into the final round with a two-stroke lead, but opened the round 6-over-par through five holes. His start made for a lot of turnover on the leaderboard. After Truslow double-bogeyed No. 4, Zachary Bauchou of Forest, Va., was in sole possession of the lead.
“I wasn’t hitting fairways or greens,” Truslow said. “I had a stretch where it was just awful, I couldn’t find anything. I knew I just had to keep a positive attitude. I knew the entire time if I kept plotting along and stuck to my game plan I would be able to stay in contention.”
Bauchou’s lead didn’t last long, his approach shot on No. 6 landed in a palm tree and he was unable to identify the ball. He doubled the hole after the bad break and never saw his name atop the leader board again.
“I feel like I have had a lot of good finishes this year,” said Bauchou who tied for second. “I was definitely ready to win, I was putting really well, my ball striking was just not there today.”
After No. 6, the leaderboard saw more change with a five way tie for first at 2-over-par.
When the last group got to No. 8, Truslow was 6-over-par on the round. He was playing his way down the leaderboard when his momentum changed on the 237-yard par-3. Truslow hit his 6-iron on the green and made birdie.
“I will say I think No. 8 is the hardest hole on the golf course,” Truslow said. “If you miss the green and the flagstick is near either ridge, it’s almost impossible.”
“I knew the eighth hole would be big to get out of there with par,” Truslow said. “I liked the number and took my 6-iron and went right at it.”
Truslow went on to birdie No. 9 to get himself back in the tournament, and made the turn at 4-over-par 40.
Truslow’s back nine got off to a much better start, as he birdied Nos. 11 and 15 and regained the lead.
“The par-5s are well designed out here,” Truslow said. “The tee shots aren’t overly demanding, and anytime I hit the fairway I tried going for it this week.”
He birdied all but one of the par-5s on the course Sunday and finished his back nine with a 1-under-par 35.
Bauchou walked to No. 17 down three strokes and watched Truslow hit his tee shot on the other side of the green from the flagstick. Bauchou then put his tee shot to 5-feet.
“I knew Zach was going to make the putt,” Truslow said. “I knew it was going to be big to 2-putt, I was just worried about getting the right speed.”
Truslow was right about the speed and his competitor. Bauchou made his birdie putt, and Truslow was able to judge the green well enough to 2-putt. After the par, the leader walked to No. 18 tee with a two-shot lead.
On No. 18, Truslow played it safe by hitting his 3-iron off the tee to the middle of the fairway.
“3-iron is my go-to club,” Truslow said. “The decision was a mixture of the situation and the first round.” In the first round Truslow hit his hybrid too far into the right side rough.
His approach shot went in the thick rough right of the green. “That was the most nerve-racking chip I’ve ever hit,” Truslow said. “There was no reason to take it at the flagstick, I figured if I hit it on and two-putted I had the tournament.”
Truslow did just that and completed “the biggest win of my career.”
Bauchou finshed tied for second with Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, and George Cunningham of Tucson, Ariz., with tournament totals of 1-over-par 215.
Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge, Calif., placed fifth with a score of 2-over-par 216. In sixth was Scott Scheffler of Dallas, with a tournament total of 3-over-par 217.
Venezuela’s Jorge Garcia of Miami, placed seventh with a total of 4-over-par 218. In eight was Adam Wood of Zionsville, Ind., at 5-over-par 219.
In ninth was a five way: Aaron Terrazas of Veracruz, Mexico, Marcus Kinhult of Fiskebackskil, Sweden, Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights, Ill., Kristian Krogh Johannessen of Hokksund, Norway, and Manuel Elvira of Santander, Spain who all posted 6-over-par 220.