Erie's Schalk scores first win by Coloradan in AJGA Hale Irwin; Grand Junction's Olkowski 2nd again in boys tourney
By: Gary Baines
Hailey Schalk of Erie, who just a couple of weeks ago became the first freshman since 2002 to win a girls state high school championship in Colorado, didn't take long to add another major accomplishment to her golf resume.
On Thursday, the 15-year-old not only notched her first American Junior Golf Association victory, but she became the first Coloradan to win the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior by Transamerica.
Schalk (pictured) came from four strokes behind entering the final round at Walnut Creek Golf Preserve in Westminster to post a one-stroke victory in the girls division of the tournament.
Schalk, who just completed her freshman year at Holy Family High School, shot a 3-under-par 69 in the final round to finish at 4-under 212. She made five birdies on the final day, including an 8-footer on the 17th hole that put her ahead for good.
Charlotte Hillary of Cherry Hills Village, who led after each of the first two rounds, missed a 5-foot birdie putt on the final hole that would have forced a playoff. Hillary, also 15, closed with a 74 after a 16-par, two-bogey day.
Trussi Li, a Chinese-born Californian, set the women's course record with a 7-under-par 65 on Thursday to tie Hillary for second place at 213.
In the boys tournament, Coloradans were 1-2 entering the final round, but Artem Yalovenko, a 15-year-old Russian who now lives in Florida, closed with a 67 to score his first AJGA victory.
Yalovenko made seven birdies in his final round to rally from five behind on Thursday to record a one-stroke win. He posted a 7-under-par 209 total.
Trevor Olkowski (left) of Grand Junction, a University of Colorado signee, finished second for the second straight year at the AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior by Transamerica. This time, he had an 18-foot birdie attempt on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff, but he left it 2 feet short. The 18-year-old, winner of the JGAC Tour Championship last fall, parred his final 15 holes for an even-par 72. His 210 total gave him a share of the runner-up spot with Carson Griggs of Sand Springs, Okla., who closed with a 67.
Second-round leader Griffin Barela of Lakewood, who's signed to play college golf at the University of Wisconsin, placed fourth at 212 after a final-round 75.
For final results from the tournament, CLICK HERE.
Check back later for reaction and more photos and details from Walnut Creek.