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[FEB 6-7 |. HORSESHOE BAY, TX] Sometimes it takes a heroic shot or a miraculous birdie on the final hole to win a championship, but other times it takes a hard-fought par and simply not making the big mistake with the pressure is on. That was the case for Missouri’s Areen Aggarwal at the TJGT Tour Championship, played at Slick Rock Golf Course at Horseshoe Bay.
Standing on the 18th tee on the final day, Aggarwal was tied with 2020 champion Garrett Endicott for the tournament lead. Aggarwal was coming off 4 birdies in the previous five holes, and both he and Endicott had just birdied the tricky par-3 17th to get to 3-under-par for the tournament, 3 clear of the rest of the field.
The 18th hole had been the most difficult hole of the day, playing almost a full stroke over par for the field, and Endicott fell victim to its difficulties, struggling in the fairway bunker and eventually carding a triple-bogey 7. That gave Aggarwal the cushion he needed, and he navigated the final hole beautifully, tapping in for a par to claim the title.
Rounding out the top 5 in the Boys 15-18 division were Houston’s David Martinez (who finished T2 with Endicott), Parker Sands of Edmond, OK, in fourth, and Preston Rouse (Houston) and Eston Duff (Pflugerville), who finished T5.
Girls 11-18 Division
In the Girls Division, Mexico City’s Alexa Saldana had firm control of the tournament throughout the final round on the Apple Rock course. Battling high winds and difficult, sloping fairways and greens, the 2020 Red River Challenge champion played steady throughout, finding the correct sides of the fairways, the fat parts of the greens and rarely getting herself into trouble.
Beginning the day tied for the lead, Saldana remained at the top of the leaderboard while others faltered by stringing together par after par, and making timely birdies following any small slip-ups. A bogey on her final hole was the only true blemish of the day, as she finished with a 1-over-par 73, good enough for a five-shot victory.
Finishing in solo second place was The Woodlands’ Avery Blake, followed by Austin’s Farrah O’Keefe in third and Savannah Barber (Fort Worth) and Paige Wood (McKinney) in T4. Wood made the biggest move of the entire tournament, firing a 2-under-par 70 in the final round to jump into the Top 5 after starting the day outside the Top 30.
Boys 11-14 Division
In what may have been the most exciting division of the tournament, the winner of the Boys 11-14 division needed 2 extra holes to secure the championship after two players stood tied after 36 holes.
Austin’s Jake Mayer and Amarillo’s Brady Holmes matched each other shot for shot the entire tournament, finished in a deadlock after 36 holes with rounds of 76-77=153. After tying the first playoff hole, Mayer captured the title on the 38th hole when Holmes’ par putt just grazed the hole, narrowly missing.
Rounding out the Top 3 for the Boys 11-14 division were Corbin Null of Woodway and Kyle Dolittle or New Braunfels.