Written By AJGA
Greensboro, N.C. - Matt Gilchrest of Southlake, Texas, won the FJ invitational by four strokes after a brilliant final round that featured four birdies en route to a 2-under-par 68 for a tournament total of 7-under-par 273. The win at Sedgefield Country Club is his first AJGA invitational win.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the FJ Invitational was a 72-hole stroke play competition played on the par-70 course at Sedgefield Country Club - Donald Ross Course. The event featured 84 boys, ages 15-18, from 26 states and four countries. The Boys Division played the course at 7,097 yards.
Gilchrest, who entered the final round one stroke behind three-day leader Carson Young of Pendleton, S.C., quickly scaled the gap on Friday, after Young double-bogeyed two of his first five holes. Gilchrest also got off to a shaky start with a bogey on No. 3, but he persevered, going 3-under-par for the rest of his round, fortifying himself with his previous tournament experience.
"Even though Carson didn't look like he was off to a good start, just beating Carson wouldn't be good enough," Gilchrest said, reflecting on his back nine on Thursday where he went 3-over-par. "Playing badly on the back nine yesterday helped me in a weird way. At one point I got to six up, but I knew it really wasn't over until the last putt drops."
Gilchrest says the win is his biggest ever and gives the future Auburn Tiger self-assurance heading into his freshman year.
"This win gives me way more confidence that I can play consistently well, at any level," Gilchrest said.
However, the win was about more than a confidence boost; it was the exclamation point on his entire experience as a junior golfer with the AJGA.
"I think I have the most fun out of anybody in the entire AJGA," Gilchrest said. "I could go out and shoot a 100 and still have a good time. But this week was fantastic from every aspect. It was just a perfect week."
George Cunningham of Tucson, Ariz., finished second at 3-under-par 277. Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas and Zachary Bauchou of Forest, Va., and Young finished in a tie for third at 1-over-par 281. Benjamin Griffin of Chapel Hill, N.C., finished sixth at 2-over-par 282. Zecheng Dou of Beijing, China finished seventh at 4-over-par 284. Clancy Waugh of North Palm Beach, Fla., finished eighth at 5-over-par 285. In four-way tie for ninth at 8-over-par 288 were Nicolo Galletti of Phoenix, William Register of Burlington, N.C., Davis Riley of Hattiesburg, Miss., and Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge, Calif.