For­mer strong over fi­nal five holes, lat­ter wins go­ing away by five strokes

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

EAS­TON — It wasn’t mixed among his clubs, or zipped up in a side pocket, but the book Car­son Bacha started read­ing may have been just as im­por­tant as any­thing he had in his bag.

“It ex­plains that nerves are good; the more you let ‘em come to you the better you’ll play,” Bacha said of his summer read. “So I kind of worked on that to­day and it helped me out.”

The 15-year-old from York, Pa. may have drawn a lit­tle ex­tra from those pages dur­ing the fi­nal round of the Ju­nior All-Star at Tal­bot golf tour­na­ment on a sauna-like Thurs­day at the Tal­bot Coun­try Club. Los­ing a lead he had held for three days on yes­ter­day’s 13th hole, Bacha moved back in front with a pair of clutch birdies over the fi­nal five holes for a one-stroke vic­tory and his first Amer­i­can Ju­nior Golf As­so­ci­a­tion ti­tle.

Al­most 45 min­utes be­fore Bacha put the fin­ish­ing touch on his first AJGA crown, 13-year-old Sophia Zhang-Mur­phy of Bei­jing, China ce­mented her first AJGA cham­pi­onship with a five-stroke vic­tory over a crowd of three in the girls’ com­pe­ti­tion.

“My putting to­day was better than the days be­fore,” said ZhangMur­phy, who shot her best round of the three-day tour­na­ment with yes­ter­day’s even-par 72 to fin­ish with a 3-over-par 219, five strokes ahead of the three play­ers she played with the fi­nal round — Eu­nice Kim (Edge­wa­ter, N.J.), So­phie Si­mon (Po­tomac, Md.) and Rylie He­flin (Avon­dale, Pa.). “I got my feel, rolling them in.”

Sec­ond af­ter the first round, Zhang-Mur­phy moved into first place dur­ing Tues­day’s sec­ond round, then pack­aged five birdies and an ea­gle on No. 5 to seal the win. Kim and Si­mon, who carded fi­nal rounds of 76 and 74, re­spec­tively, each sank two birdies in the fi­nal round, while He­flin made three for a fi­nal round of 74.

“I played OK the past few days,” Zhang-Mur­phy said. well to­day.”

Bacha had also played well over the first two days, shoot­ing an open­ing-round, two-un­der 70 on Mon­day and a sec­ond-round 72 Tues­day to carry a two-stroke lead into the fi­nal. Birdies on 3 and 7 helped him main­tain a slim lead, but when Bacha bo­geyed 13, and “I played

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