MCKINNEY, TX – The weather was beautiful, the golf course was perfect (but tough), and spectators were treated to two days of some incredible golf at the 2017 CEC-The Patriot Major, as Benton, La., Colton Ryan and Abilene’s Maddi Olson comfortable cruised to 3-shot victories in their respective divisions to claim the championship trophies.
BOYS 11-18 DIVISION
Scoring conditions were just about perfect on Day 1 and Day 2, and the players that avoided the perils of Nos. 13-15 (namely the deep rough and the tempting almost-driveable No. 14) were set up to shoot low scores. On Day 1, the players attacked the difficult TPC Craig Ranch, with the top seven finishers in Round 1 shooting even-par or better. Ryan and Frisco’s Cortland Curgus set the pace on the first day, both firing impressive 3-under rounds of 69. Starting on the 10th hole, Ryan opened his round with 8 straight pars before birding the par-5 18th. He then gave two shots back quickly in the early part of his back 9, but finished with a flurry, going 4-under on his last 5 holes, highlighted by two straight birdies to finish his round. Curgus started out hot, carding three birdies on the front side, en-route to an opening 33 on the front 9. He would match a lone bogey with one birdie on the back, tying himself for the lead.
Three other players broke par in round 1, lead by Plano’s Kevin Graves, who shot a 2-under 70 to stand in solo 3rd place. Lake Charles, La., Dezmenn Reich and Folson, Calif., Christian Castillo both shot rounds of 71, standing two shots back of the lead heading into the second round.
Ryan went into cruise control in Round 2, shooting a 33 on his front side and coasting down the stretch to a 2-under-par 70, good enough for a three-shot victory over Graves and Curgus. The Colony’s Sam Simonsen, who shot even during Round 1, shot a 3-over 75 in Round 2, vaulting him up into solo 4th place. One shot back of Simonsen were Richardson’s Connor Ahn and Reich.
GIRLS 11-18 DIVISION
In the Girls 11-18 Division, Maddi Olson set the tone right away, firing a 74 in Round 1 to take a 1-shot lead over the field. In what could have been a much lower score, Olson birdied her very first hole, and strung together three straight birdies in the middle of her back nine, but stumbled a bit coming home, carding 3 bogeys in her final four holes. Standing one shot back after Round 1 were McKinney’s Brooke Morales and Ardmore, Okla., Katie Finley. Frisco youngster Caroline Kent stood in solo fourth after the first day, shooting a 77.
Much like Ryan did in the Boy’s division, Olson cruised to victory in Round 2 with an even-par 72 and a three-stroke victory. Her second round was a bit less stressful than her first, as she matched 3 bogeys with 3 birdies on Day 2. Morales improved on her Day 1 score, shooting a Round 2 74 and taking solo second place, and Plano’s Ellie Roth shot 75 in the second round, good enough to vault her from outside the top 4 into a solo third place finish.