It was a big day for Charlotte Hillary of Englewood, it was a big week for Jackson Klutznick of Denver, and it was a big year for Dillon Stewart of Fort Collins and Lauren Lehigh of Loveland.
On a day the Junior Golf Alliance of Colorado wrapped up its fourth and final major of the season and celebrated the year with an awards banquet, the four aforementioned Coloradans were among the biggest winners.
In a sweep for golfers from Kent Denver School, Hillary and Klutznick earned the girls and boys titles, respectively, at the JGAC Tour Championship that concluded recently at Denver Country Club.
Stewart and Lehigh landed the boys and girls JGAC Player of the Year awards for 2018, respectively.
For the tour championship winners, both accomplished something very notable Sunday. Hillary won the event for the second time in the three years it’s been played, and that’s despite not being in the field in 2017. Klutznick claimed a big title for the second time in a week as he captured the 3A boys state high school individual championship Tuesday at Boulder Country Club. In addition, Sunday’s victory came at Klutznick’s home course, Denver Country Club.
And the fact that both Hillary and Klutznick attend Kent Denver — Klutznick is a senior and Hillary a junior — made the accomplishments ever more satisfying.
Hillary, who earlier this year made the match play round of 32 at the California Women’s Amateur Championship, rallied from a three-stroke deficit going into Sunday to overtake first-round leader Caroline Jordaan of Lakewood. The 16-year-old Hillary shot an even-par 71 in round to check in with a winning total of 3-over 145.
Hillary made three birdies on a cold Sunday, with two of them on the back nine coming from a mere 18 inches from the cup.
Jordaan, who plans to play her college golf at the University of Denver, finished second at 147. After going 5 over par in her first eight holes Sunday, she parred her final 10 holes of the tournament to post a final-round 76. It was Jordaan’s second runner-up finish in a JGAC major this year.
Sofia Choi of Littleton took third place among the girls at 151 after a 76 of her own Sunday.
Like Hillary, Klutznick rallied for the boys title. His 1-over-par 72 Sunday left him at even-par 142 overall, good for a one-stroke victory over his Kent Denver teammate Jeffrey Zhou, a 15-year-old from Greenwood Village who closed with a 71.
Klutznick carded three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey Sunday.
Bo Wardynski of Parker finished third at 144 after a 72 Sunday.
First-round leader Jacob Mason of Westminster was in good shape to earn the victory through 13 holes of Sunday’s round, but he played his final five holes in 6 over par. That led to a 77 and a share of sixth place at 146.
The JGAC Players of the Year were all but set in stone before the Tour Championship. Stewart, who won the 5A state high school title Tuesday, skipped the Tour Championship because he’s competing in the prestigious Ping Invitational in Stillwater, Okla. Meanwhile, Lehigh placed sixth Sunday at Denver Country Club.
Here are the highlights of the season for the Players of the Year:
Dillon Stewart of Fort Collins — won individual title in Junior America’s Cup, which featured some of the top junior golfers from the western U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Lauren Lehigh of Loveland — one of 24 players (12 girls) worldwide to be named to the Transamerica Scholastic Junior All-America Team by the AJGA. as been a member of the Hale Irwin Player Program for three years.
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