EAST WENATCHEE — Zak Griffiths led wire-to-wire in the boys division of the American Junior Golf Association tournament at Wenatchee Golf & Country Club, shooting 68 on the final day of competition to win by a comfortable seven strokes.
Kendall Prince, who was locked in a battle with Leilanie Kim in the girls division since day one, birdied the par-5 10th hole to begin the back nine to carry her to the title, as 99 of the top junior golfers from the West Coast and elsewhere gathered in East Wenatchee.
Ephrata’s Andrew Whalen was the top local finisher, carding a 1-under 215 for the tournament to finish fifth in the boys division.
Kelli Bowers, bound for UW after finishing up a record-setting career at Chelan High, was 11th on the girls’ side with a 231.
Griffiths, from Red Deer, Alberta, was the story of the event, ripping off a 13-under tournament to finish seven strokes ahead of runner-up Lorens Chan of Honolulu.
It was his first career AJGA victory.
“I eagled No. 12 after holing out from the fairway bunker,” Griffiths said in a statement released by the AJGA. “From there I made birdies on three of my next four holes. That shot was a momentum shifter for sure.”
A clutch shot also got Prince going in the right direction.
“I stuck it to about three feet for birdie,” the Ohio State-bound Oregon native said of her shot on 10. “I played the back nine well all week and that shot gave me the confidence I needed heading down the stretch.”
Kim, from Surrey B.C.., led by one stroke after the front nine, but double-bogeyed No. 11 and bogeyed No. 13, giving Prince a window.
Kim, who was tied with Prince for the lead after the first round, wound up three shots back of the lead at 219.
Betty Chen of Castro Valley, Calif. was third, four back of Kim.
Aaron Whalen, a 14-year-old from Ephrata, rounded out the local finishers with a 9-over 225 for the tournament. He was tied for 24th.