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