Eagle Helps Jordan Ridge Claim Age Division Title in Big 'I'
The shot sparked the rising Pinecrest senior to a 68 and a first-place finish in the 15-18 age division of the Big "I" Junior Classic national qualifier. Her 36-hole total of 74-68 -- 142 was three strokes better than runner-up Courtney Gunter of Mathews.
Both golfers are eligible to compete in the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America's (IIAA) 72-hole national tournament to be held in Odessa, Texas, July 29-Aug. 3.
Across the road at Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club, Tommy Gibson of Pilot Mountain posted scores of 71-67 -- 138 to finish first in the 15-18 age group for the boys. Jonathan Wade of Greensboro was second with rounds of 72-68 -- 140.
Ridge played her first-ever round of golf as a child at Pine Needles. Her family moved to the area from Greensboro last summer. Ridge was the Mid-Southeastern Conference Player of the Year last fall.
Playing in her fifth tournament in the last six weeks, Ridge went into Sunday's second round trailing the leader by two strokes.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking," she said Monday, "because I didn't know how the others were playing."
The eagle helped Ridge take the turn with a 33. The 68 was her best career-best competitive round. It also included three birdies and two bogeys.
"I was hitting it really close to the pin, I was driving and putting well," she said. "Just about everything was working."
Ridge will not be making the trip to Texas for the national tournament because of a previously planned golfing trip to Hawaii.
Eleana Collins of Pinehurst, this year's North Carolina Junior Amateur champion, finished third with scores of 75-73 -- 148. Lori Beth Adams of Burlington shot 81-87 -- 168 to take first in the 12-14 age division and Hailey Crider of Pinehurst posted a 94 for first in the under-11 age group.
Patrick Barrett of Pinehurst was one of a number of local juniors pursuing Gibson for the top spot at Mid Pines. The rising Pinecrest junior shot rounds of 71-71 -- 142. Among the other locals in the field were Robert Hoadley of Southern Pines (75-71 -- 146), Russell Burke of Pinehurst (69-77 -- 146) and Kevin MacDonald of Pinebluff (78-78 -- 156). Samuel Packard of Pinehurst competed in the 12-14 age group (82-74 -- 156).
Robert Riesen almost knocked off the hottest college golfer in America last weekend in the 2006 Players Amateur at Belfair in South Carolina.
Riesen of Pinehurst, a rising sophomore at UNC and a graduate of Pinecrest High School, finished one stroke behind Oklahoma State's Jonathan Moore. Moore shot a 22-under to win.
Moore won the NCAA championship, and was awarded the Phil Mickelson Award, given to the the nation's outstanding Division I freshman.
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