BLUMENHERST, HERMES CLAIM TITLES
AT PING/MARSICO FUNDS COLORADO JUNIOR ROUNDUP
Blumenherst goes deep, while Hermes wins playoff
PUEBLO, Colo. - The roads they took were different,
but the destinations were the same for Amanda Blumenherst
of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jake Hermes of Durango, Colo., who
claimed the titles Friday at the PING/Marsico Funds Colorado
The 54-hole event, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, took place at Walking Stick Golf Course and featured an 84-player field with 63 boys and 21 girls.
For her part, Blumenherst made it look easy. With 12 birdies and only five missed greens for the week, she finished the tournament 13 strokes above the competition, shooting 5-under-par with rounds of 73-70-68-211. Blumenherst led wire to wire, and as her scores fell lower each round, her lead grew larger.
"The first round showed me where I stood among the competition," she said. "From there, I just focused on my own game. I just want to play my best."
Although she played consistently throughout the tournament, Blumenherst played the front nine at Walking Stick exceptionally well, carding a 31 and 32 on the front side in the final two rounds. On Friday, she made consecutive birdies on holes 7, 8, and 9, then coasted through her final nine holes with nine pars. Blumenherst said her confidence in her approach shots helped her focus more on her putting.
"I was dropping a lot of putts today," she said. "And I've been hitting my irons so well, I can just trust I'll play all right."
Heather Wright of Houston took second place with 77-75-72-224, while third place went to Ashley Rollins of Austin, Texas, who totaled 79-75-72-226.
Unlike the girls, the boys' title was up for grabs heading into the final hole. Playing together in the final pairing, Hermes trailed Derek Tolan of Highlands Ranch, Colo., and Geoff Mead of Rapid City, S.D., by one stroke as the group teed off on 18. There, Hermes drained a 30-foot birdie putt over a ridge on the 18th green to force a sudden-death playoff with Mead, who got up and down from a bunker to save par. Tolan three-putted from 70 feet on the severely undulated green to fall one shot behind Hermes and Mead.
In the playoff, Hermes and Mead took another shot at the 18th hole, but this time, a par was all Hermes needed to secure his second career AJGA victory after Mead lipped out his par putt.
Hermes led after firing a 68 in the first round of the tournament, but fell behind Tolan and Mead when he shot a 77 in the stormy second round. After starting the final round three shots behind the leader Tolan, Hermes said it was the high level of competition that drove him to finish strong.
"I like being in the final group and watching what the other guys are doing," said Hermes, who finished at 4-over-par with rounds of 68-77-72-217. "It was great for me to feed off of Derek and Geoff."
Mead carded rounds of 70-73-74-217 to earn his highest career AJGA finish, while third-place finisher Tolan narrowly missed his second straight AJGA victory with rounds of 70-72-76-218. Three players shared fourth place at 223, including Zach Fullerton and
Jesse Barnsley, both of Albuquerque, N.M., and Dean Merrill of Kansas City, Mo.
For more information on the PING/Marsico Funds Colorado Junior Roundup, please contact AJGA headquarters at (877) 373-2542.