KILMARNOCK (BARASSIE), Scotland – Jordan Cox of Redwood City, Calif., and Esther Choe of La Quinta, Calif., each won their first international crowns Wednesday at the British Junior Open Championships. Cox posted a tournament total of 74-72-69–215 while Choe shot 75-73-72–218 to garner the tournament’s top honors.
Cox’s rollercoaster final-round 69 included six birdies, an eagle and a double- and triple-bogey on Kilmarnock Golf Club’s 6,617-yard, par-72 course. His erratic round, he said, can be attributed to his aggressiveness and the difficulty of the links-style course. Either way, he knew he needed to go low during the final round to make up for the three-shot deficit he had at the beginning of the day.
“There were some holes out there where par or bogey was good enough to make up a shot on the field,” the 16-year-old explained. “I feel like I controlled the ball well in the wind and made a lot of putts. These two things were the successful combination to winning.”
Choe stayed steady throughout the tournament. Her final-round, even-par 72 on a course that measured 6,062 yards was hardly ho-hum, however. Her score included fives birdies, two double-bogeys and a bogey.
“I’ve worked really hard so this proves it is paying off,” the honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American said. “I’ve learned a lot about my game, links golf and different cultures this week. This was a great experience and an awesome accomplishment.”
Cox and Choe will continue to be world travelers. After being special guests of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at this week’s Open Championship at Troon, the two will fly back to the United States for their respective U.S. Junior Amateur Championships. They will then re-unite for the 15th annual Canon Cup in which they will be teamed with the rest of the top junior players from the West Coast to compete against their Eastern counterparts in a team competition.
These two players were chosen to represent the United States via an AJGA points system that rewarded players for top finishes in national junior golf events. In order to be eligible, players had to be U.S. citizens and 16 years old or younger as of Jan. 1, 2004.
Founded in 1994, the Junior Open came under The R&A administrative umbrella in 2000. Staged every two years, the event is closely linked to The Open Championship and played on a nearby course. All golfing nations affiliated to The R&A are invited to enter their best under 16 boy and girl golfers. This year, 57 countries were represented.
To encourage entries worldwide, there are three categories of competition defined by varying handicap limits. Gold is for those with a handicap of three and under, silver 4-9, and bronze 10-21. Both Cox and Choe competed in the Gold category.