Bryant captures his 2nd straight junior major, while Keating leaves Colorado a winner at CO Junior Am
By: Gary Baines
For Davis Bryant of Aurora, Wednesday marked the continuation of something major, junior golf-wise, in 2017.
For Arielle Keating of Colorado Springs, it was a fitting end for her junior golf career in the state.
Bryant became the first boy to win two of the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado's major championships by cruising to a seven-stroke victory in the Colorado Junior Amateur at Legacy Ridge Golf Course in Westminster.
"It's awesome," Bryant said of the accomplishment, which matches what Mary Weinstein of Highlands Ranch did on the girls side in 2016. "Winning the first major was awesome. The thought of trying to win them all was in the back of my mind, but I didn't really set that goal for myself. If I think like that, I may have a tougher time."
Meanwhile, Keating prevailed by six strokes for the girls title in her final junior tournament in the state before she moves with her family to Florida on Thursday.
"It's kind of the icing on the cake to be able to leave Colorado saying I won my last tournament, then head down to Florida where hopefully good, exciting things will happen in golf," said the 16-year-old, who is bound for Stuart, Fla. "I lived in the same house (in Colorado Springs) for 12 years. It's really tough moving. I'm going to miss Colorado a lot. Everyone here has been so supportive.
"It's kind of sad to go, but the competition in Florida is going to be good so I'm excited. I'll be able to play year-around and really be able to get my game together."
As with last month's Colorado Junior PGA Championship, both winners on Wednesday are children of PGA professionals. Bryant is the son of Green Valley Ranch general manager Matt Bryant and Keating is the daughter of former Springs Ranch Golf Club teaching professional Brad Keating. Colorado Junior PGA girls winner Hailey Schalk is the daughter of Colorado National GM Matt Schalk.
Keating (left), who finished sixth in her age division at the 2016 Drive Chip & Putt national finals at Augusta National, shot a 6-over-par 78 on Wednesday, finishing with a birdie to post a 16-over 232 total. Keating has verbally committed to play her college golf at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton beginning in 2018. The team is coached by 1985 U.S. Women's Open champion Kathy (Baker) Guadagnino.
"It meant a lot having my college coaches here and being able to play pretty well," said Keating, who played her Colorado high school golf at Rampart, where she finished sixth at the 5A state tournament.
Julia Baroth of Denver, who will play at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs starting this fall, placed second at 238 after an 82 on Wednesday. And Caroline Jordaan of Denver, winner of the North American Junior Amateur in January, finished third at 240 after also closing with an 82.
Baroth was still within striking distance -- trailing by four -- until she had some major issues under a tree on the par-4 13th hole, whiffing twice before getting up an down for a double bogey.
"It was a tough course," said Baroth, a 17-year-old graduate of Denver East. "I did what I could. It didn't turn out the way I wanted it to, but I'm really, really happy for Arielle and how she played. I wish I could have played better, but I'm proud of how I came out. I left a lot of shots on the course, but I did my best and it paid off."
Bryant (left), an Eaglecrest High School senior-to-be who will play collegiately at Colorado State, won the Colorado Junior PGA by two last month at Eisenhower Golf Club. And on Wednesday, the 17-year-old made it 2-for-2 in JGAC majors this year by backing up the career-best-tying 65 he shot Tuesday with a 2-under-par 70 in Wednesday's final round. That gave the two-time U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier an 8-under-par 208 total for three days.
Unfortunately, any talk of a potential Colorado junior grand slam will end before it picks up steam as Bryant will not compete in the third major of 2017, the Colorado Junior Match Play, because it conflicts with the national Junior PGA Championship he's playing in starting July 31 near St. Louis.
"It sucks (there's a conflict)," Bryant said. "It would be awesome if I could play in every tournament and take advantage of every opportunity that is out there. But I'm going to the Junior PGA because of what I did (at the Colorado Junior PGA), and that set up what I did here. I'm a little frustrated that I won't be able to try to go three in a row, but two in a row is pretty good."
Bryant racked up 11 birdies and just two bogeys over the final two rounds at Legacy Ridge, and won going away. He hit 45 greens in regulation -- out of 54 -- for the week.
"Just two bogeys in the last 36 holes in this tournament is awesome," said Bryant, who has carded two rounds of 65 this JGAC season. "The only way people are going to catch you is if they're making a bunch of birdies.
"The way that I'm hitting the ball right now is awesome. If you hit at least 14 greens in regulation, you're going to have tons of chances for birdies. And if you hit good putts, they're going to fall in."
Barrett Jones (left) of Eagle fired a bogey-free 4-under-par 68 on Wednesday to earn runner-up honors at 1-under 215.
"Davis is a sensational player," said Jones, a senior-to-be at Eagle Valley High School who finished seventh in the 4A state tournament last year. "There's no stopping him when he is playing well. When I'm playing well, I think I can compete with him. But I need to put together three good rounds like he did. I had one round (76 Tuesday) that was not as good."
First-round leader Cole Krantz, a University of Colorado signee, placed third at 216 after carding a final-round 76. Krantz's 18th-hole birdie was his first of the day.
For Colorado Junior Amateur scores, click on the following: BOYS, GIRLS.