Leaders Hold On To Win Buick Junior Open Divisions
GRAND BLANC, Mich. (AP) _ After a four-year absence from the winner’s circle, Larry Nuger of Longmeadow, Mass., returned by capturing the Boys 15-18 Division of the Buick Junior Open on Thursday.
Nuger shot a final-round 73 to finish with 215, two strokes better than John Engler of Augusta, Ga., at the American Junior Golf Association tournament.
``I have what I call a tournament swing,″ Nuger said. ``My game is seldom there before the tournament begins, but when it does, I expect it to be there and it is.″
Nuger, who held a one-stroke lead after the second round at the Flint ELks Lodge 222 Golf Club, led until Engler birdied the 13th hole to move into a tie for the lead.
``I birdied 13 and he double bogeyed 14 after hitting into the water,″ Nuger said, explaining how he moved back in front.
Though he never gave up the lead again, it was a battle to the last hole.
``I didn’t know for sure I had won it until I sank that last putt,″ Nuger said. ``It really hasn’t hit me yet.″
Engler’s even-par 72 was one of the better rounds he has played. But it was not enough.
“Except for holes 14 and 18, my game today was absolutely perfect,″ Engler said after watching Nuger par 18 for the win. ``I knew that parring out on those two holes were my only chance for the win. I just couldn’t make it happen.″
Mike Austin of Burton, Mich., the tournament’s local favorite, shot a 74 Thursday for a three-day total 219 and a share of third place. Also finishing at 74-219 was Ryan Carlyle of Wilmette, Ill.
Canadian Ryley Webb of Bracebridge, Ontario, won her first AJGA title, finishing the three-tour event with 223 to capture the Girls Division championship.
``I have held the lead in two other AJGA tournaments,″ Webb said. ``I was never able to hold on for the win, so today I was a little nervous, but I did it.
``Recently I have not been playing very well. I had to take some time off before this tournament began because of a bad back, but I am back on track.″
Jessica Belskis of Worthington, Ohio, and Amie Lehman of Pittsford, N.Y., tied for second after shooting 229s.
In the Boys 13-14 Division, Thomas Lee of Lake Mary Fla., shot a final-round, even-par 72 to capture his second AJGA victory this year. Lee, who also won the 1996 Oklahoma Junior Classic, said consistency was his key.
``I have to set goals for myself,″ Lee said. ``I try to get out there and get an early lead and then just play assertive, but not too aggressive.”
Playing steady worked for Lee through all 54 holes. Joe Affrunti of Crystal Lake, Ill., was close until the Thursday’s second hole.
``When I birdied hole 3 and Joe bogeyed it, then I knew I could hang on to win,″ Lee said.
Affrunti struggled with three bogeys and one double bogey on the back nine. His 227 gave him second place, while Danny Mosholder of Tallmadge, Ohio, and Aaron Bell of Anderson, Ind., tied for third with 231s.