A year ago, when Mary Weinstein of Highlands Ranch won the CWGA Junior Stroke Play, she was asked if she had accomplished anything major in golf prior to that.
"I said 'no'," Weinstein recounted on Wednesday. "So finally I can say 'yes', and it's a great feeling."
Actually, Weinstein has been able to say yes recently to that question for multiple reasons. In addition to winning the CWGA Junior Stroke Play and the CJGA Junior Series Championship in 2015, she had the best finish ever by a Coloradan in the oldest girls age group in the prestigious IMG Academy Junior World Golf Championships. She was named the CWGA's Junior Player of the Year in 2015 and last month won the 5A state high school meet.
Then on Wednesday, she added the girls Colorado Junior Amateur title to the list. And since the tournament -- the first "major" of the inaugural season of the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado -- is essentially an outgrowth of the CWGA Junior Stroke Play, she can rightfully claim to have won the girls state stroke play for two years running.
"It's a great year because that tournament last year started a great streak," she said. "To end it this way feels really amazing to me. I'm really happy I could win it the way I did."
The 18-year-old Regis Jesuit High School graduate (left and above) became the first back-to-back winner of the former CWGA Junior Stroke Play/current girls Colorado Junior Amateur since Jennifer McCormick claimed three straight titles from 1991 to '93. All told, only four girls have won the event -- which dates back to 1979 -- in consecutive years: Gailynn Addis (1981 and '82), Wendy Werley (1984 and '85), McCormick and Weinstein.
Weinstein, who will play golf starting in the fall for Regis University, went into Wednesday's final round of the Colorado Junior Amateur with a five-stroke lead at Eisenhower Golf Club's Blue Course. And she ended up winning by five, but it did get interesting in the middle of the round.
When 14-year-old Hailey Schalk (below) of Erie eagled the par-5 ninth hole -- hitting a hybrid from 215 yards to 1 foot from the cup -- to shoot a 4-under-par 32 on the front nine, she narrowed Weinstein's lead to one. But when Weinstein drained a 15-foot birdie on No. 10 while Schalk hit two pitches fat and made a double bogey, the lead jumped to four, and Weinstein wasn't seriously challenged the rest of the way.
"No. 10 made me mad but overall I think I played really well," said Schalk, who also posted a top-10 finish at last week's AJGA Hale Irwin Colorado Junior. "I hit two (chip shots) fat actually on that hole and then I missed a putt. That kind of ruined the (momentum) from the eagle.
"I felt really, really good because how much I struggled the first day (78), then playing pretty good yesterday (75) and playing really good today (71) and having an eagle and being under par. This is a big tournament playing against really good people, so I was really happy to finish second. Mary is really, really good."
Both Weinstein and Schalk carded 1-under-par 71s on Wednesday, with the champion finishing at 3-over-par 219 and Schalk checking in at 224.
Caroline Jordaan of Cherry Hills Village and Sarah Hwang of Monument shared a distant third place at 240, with Jordaan carding a 79 and Hwang an 80.
The Colorado Junior Amateur was Weinstein's first tournament after returning from a two-week trip with her family following her victory in the 5A state high school tournament.
"I practiced for one week straight to try to learn how to golf again," she said. "To shoot 71 today, I'm pretty proud of that."
And it was an eventful 71 also. On the front nine, Weinstein made three straight birdies (holes 3-5), only to immediately follow them up with three consecutive bogeys. Overall for the day, she carded five birdies.
"Golf is a game where nothing is ever guaranteed," she said philosophically. "I just tried to play my best and if it was enough, it was going to work out. Obviously you have to have confidence, but you should never become overconfident."
Among those in attendance Wednesday were CGA executive director Ed Mate and his Colorado PGA counterpart, Eddie Ainsworth, a former PGA general manager at Eisenhower. The CGA and the Colorado PGA are co-founders of the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado, and the CWGA has also helped make it a success. Staffers and/or volunteers from each organization worked the boys and/or girls tournaments this week.
To see how the boys Colorado Junior Amateur turned out, CLICK HERE.Colorado Junior Amateur (Girls)
At Par-72 Eisenhower GC's Blue Course
1. Mary Weinstein, Highlands Ranch, CO, 75-73-71-219 +3
2. Hailey Schalk, Erie, CO, 78-75-71-224 +8
3. Caroline Jordaan, Cherry Hills Village, CO, 80-81-79-240 +24
3. Sarah Hwang, Monument, CO, 81-79-80-240 +24
5. Andrea Hoos, Thornton, CO, 84-82-76-242 +26
6. Amisha Singh, Greenwood Village, CO, 85-81-77-243 +27
6. Jaclyn Murray, Grand Junction, CO, 77-86-80-243 +27
6. Amy Chitkoksoong, Aurora, CO, 82-82-79-243 +27
6. Jennifer Hankins, Thornton, CO, 80-82-81-243 +27
10. Julia Baroth, Denver, CO, 82-85-78-245 +29
10. Arielle Keating, Colorado Springs, CO, 82-80-83-245 +29
12. Shelby Poynter, Scottsbluff, NE, 84-81-84-249 +33
13. Erin Sargent, Longmont, CO, 82-85-84-251 +35
14. Hannah More, Littleton, CO, 83-84-85-252 +36
15. Tabitha Diehl, Highlands Ranch, CO, 87-79-87-253 +37
16. Riley McKibbon, Arvada, CO, 87-80-93-260 +44
Missed 36-Hole Cut
17. Charlotte Hillary, Englewood, CO, 87-83-170 +26
17. Regina Dillon, Colorado Springs, CO, 86-84-170 +26
17. Delaney Benson, Littleton, CO, 83-87-170 +26
20. Lauren Lehigh, Loveland, CO, 92-79-171 +27
20. Reagan Robinson, Golden, CO, 87-84-171 +27
22. Lauren Murphy, Carbondale, CO, 89-83-172 +28
22. Sarah Hunt, Parker, CO, 86-86-172 +28
24. Marie Jordaan, Cherry Hills Village, CO, 85-88-173 +29
25. Gracie Olkowski, Grand Junction, CO, 92-82-174 +30
25. Ashlee Sample, Monument, CO, 90-84-174 +30
27. Jenna Chun, Englewood, CO, 86-89-175 +31
28. Kellsey Sample, Monument, CO, 95-89-184 +40
29. Grace Linderman, Highlands Ranch, CO, 87-101-188 +44
30. Kelsey Webster, Boulder, CO, 90-103-193 +49