By: Gary Baines
Ashleigh Wilson of Highlands Ranch was scheduled for her first day of fourth grade at SkyView Academy on Wednesday.
But she was oh so happy that she didn't go to school.
After all, had she attended, she wouldn't have become the first girl ever to win the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado's 10 & Under Junior Series Championship twice.
"I'm glad I skipped the first day of school to come here," Wilson said after claiming the second of back-to-back championships Wednesday at the Les Fowler Par-3 Course at Boulder Country Club. "My mom wasn't too sure (about missing school to play in the tournament), but my dad and me were like, 'If I'm in it, I'm playing.' I wasn't going to miss it. I'm glad I didn't."
While Wilson (left), 9, landed the girls title, another one of the younger set won the boys tournament as 8-year-old left-hander Andre Dumonteil (below) of Centennial prevailed in that division.
"This is the biggest tournament out of all the touraments in this age group," noted Dumonteil, who just last week finished 20th out of 136 8-year-old boys in the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship in Pinehurst, N.C.
The Junior Series Championship is a season-ending invitation-only event for 30 top performers in 2016 (20 boys and 10 girls). While there was plenty of competition, there was also a lot of just plain fun, and kids being kids. What else would you expect from a group of 7-10 year-olds?
Plenty of parents got in on the act too, among them University of Colorado men's golf coach Roy Edwards, who was there with his 7-year-old boy, Ashton (see bottom photo).
In the girls tournament, Wilson prevailed this year by a three-stroke margin. She shot a 13-over-par 67, nine strokes better than her winning total last year. Ten & Under season-long points leader Hadley Ashton of Erie finished second at 70, while Brooke Hudson of Parker was third at 74.
Repeating as champion "is a big deal," Wilson said. "I really like my name being on the trophy."
As for being the only two-time girls winner in her age division, Wilson added, "That's pretty cool. I didn't know about that actually."
And, being 9 still, she has the opportunity for a three-peat next summer.
Wilson made two birdies during the course of the day -- a first for her -- to help secure the top spot among the girls for the second time this season.
"I don't have many birdie experiences honestly, so when I do that twice today, that's really special," she said. "Most of the time I don't make a birdie at all."
In the boys competition, Dumonteil finished at 10-over-par 64 and needed two extra holes to defeat Landon Houska (left) of Fort Collins for the title. After both players one-putted for par on the first playoff hole, Dumonteil prevailed on the second hole with a bogey when Houska three-putted after going into a bunker with his tee shot.
"I was very nervous in the playoff," said Dumonteil, who noted that it was "crazy to think" that two 8-year-olds were squaring off in the playoff for the title of the 10 & Under tournament.
Matai Naqica of Centennial placed third among the boys, one stroke out of the playoff, after double-bogeying the final hole.
Like Houska, Dumonteil performed must better in his second trip around the nine-hole layout (30) than he did in his first (34).
"In the second round, it was a lot more fun," the fourth-grader said. After noting his mindset wasn't good during his first nine holes, "then I got my attitude back."
Dumonteil, the season-long points leader for the 10 & Under boys, very nearly birdied the tough finishing hole from 7 feet, but the par forced the playoff.
The Junior Series Championships for the older age groups will take place Sept. 10-11, with the 11-13 age group at CommonGround Golf Course in Aurora, and the 14-18 year-olds at Pelican Lakes in Windsor.
10 & Under Junior Series Championship
At Par-54 Les Fowler Course at Boulder CC
* -- won in a playoff
1. *Andre Dumonteil, Centennial, CO, 34-30-64
2. Landon Houska, Fort Collins, CO 34-30-64
3. Matai Naqica, Centennial, CO, 31-34-65
4. Ty Andrews, Windsor, CO, 35-32-67
5. Tyler Long, Evergreen, CO, 33-35-68
6. Johnathon Smith, Pagosa Springs, CO, 36-33-69
7. Miles Kuhl, Boulder, CO, 31-39-70
7. Will Balliet, Thornton, CO, 37-33-70
9. Nico Buchenau, Denver, CO, 40-32-72
9. Ross Miller, Parker, CO, 37-35-72
11. Campbell McFadden, Denver, CO, 39-34-73
12. Ethan Turner, Firestone, CO, 36-39-75
13. Kyle Shaw, Denver, CO, 40-36-76
13. Jake Dost, Parker, CO, 39-37-76
15. Frank Lockwood, Meridian, CO, 40-38-78
16. Ashton Edwards, Boulder, CO, 47-39-86
17. Charles Budacz-Kauflin, Niwot, CO, 42-45-87
18. Wesley Atterbury, Naples, FL, 48-43-91
19. Collen Todd, Golden, CO, 50-53-103
Kaden Devenport, Windsor, CO WD
1. Ashleigh Wilson, Highlands Ranch, CO, 33-34-67
2. Hadley Ashton, Erie, CO, 34-36-70
3. Brooke Hudson, Parker, CO, 39-35-74
4. Bead Boonta, Centennial, CO, 39-37-76
5. Caitlyn Chin, Greenwood Village, CO, 41-40-81
6. Hillary Nelson, Castle Rock, CO, 38-44-82
7. Kady Ulrich, Fruita, CO, 45-43-88
8. Maddie Makino, Parker, CO, 41-48-89
9. Livia Pett, Denver, CO, 54-46-100
10. Zoey Gomez, Westmister, CO, 53-51-104