Pullman, Wash. – Collin Hodgkinson of Beaverton, Ore. outlasted Ethan Evans of Mercer Island, Wash. 2 and 1 to win the 66th PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship; and Kennedy Knox of Normandy Park, Wash. defeated Emma Wong of Bellevue, Wash. 10 and 8 to win the 65th PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur.
The two championships were held concurrently at Palouse Ridge Golf Club in Pullman, Wash., and were conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA). Both championships are considered as counting events for the World Amateur Golf Ranking, as well as AJGA Performance Based Entry.
Both championships began earlier this week with 36 holes of stroke play qualifying to determine seeding for match play. All subsequent matches were contested over 18 holes in a single-elimination format, with the exception of today’s two final matches, both of which were scheduled as 36-hole contests.
Hodgkinson, the No. 2 seed in the Junior Boys’ match-play bracket, found himself three holes down to Evans after 14 holes of the scheduled 36-hole final match. But he won holes 15, 17 and 18 to tie the match heading into the lunch break. As the match continued in the afternoon, the two players went back-and-forth, with Hodgkinson holding a slim 1-up lead standing on the 17th tee. He birdied the par-5, against Evans’ par, and Hodgkinson closed out the match, 2 and 1.
“It feels great,” Hodgkinson said afterward. “I really battled out there (after being down early). Just slow and steady the rest of the way. I struck the ball really well today.” In the afternoon round, he hit every green in regulation.
“This is a real booster for me,” he said. “Really great, and looking forward to the next tournament.”
The 17-year-old Hodgkinson is a senior-to-be at Mountainside High School (Beaverton, Ore.) and has verbally committed to play golf at Oregon State University after graduation. Last week he played for Team Oregon in the Eddie Hogan Cup and finished T7 individually.
Evans, the No. 5 seed, will be a senior at Mercer Island (Wash.) High School. He recently won his second consecutive WJGA Boys’ State Championship.
Hodgkinson now adds his name to the rich history of the PNGA Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship, which includes past champions such as World Golf Hall of Fame member Fred Couples, Korn Ferry Tour players Alex Prugh and Andrew Yun, and John Bodenhamer, the former CEO and executive director of the PNGA who now is a senior director of championships the USGA.
In the Junior Girls’ Amateur, Knox was the stroke-play medalist and No. 1 seed in the match-play bracket. In today’s final match, she won the first three holes of the scheduled 36-hole match, and never looked back. She was 7-up over Wong after the morning round, and 9-up after 27 holes. She closed out the match with a birdie on the 28th hole.
“I’m really happy with how things ended,” Knox said after the match. “This is my last junior tournament, so it’s a nice way to go out.”
When Knox played in the 2019 championship (with the 2020 event being canceled due to COVID), she had been the No. 1 seed and got knocked out in the first round of match play. “I really learned from that experience,” she said today. “How to control my emotions, and how to do well in match play, so I definitely feel it was a good advantage to be the No. 1 seed (this year).”
With her win today, Knox completed an historic summer of achievements. In June she won the Washington Women’s Amateur, and two weeks afterward won the SWGA Seattle City Amateur. Then in August she won the WJGA Girls’ State Championship. She is the first player in history to win all these titles in the same year. For added measure, she also qualified to play in the 2021 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship. She will compete for the University of Washington women’s golf team this fall, and has already made the team’s traveling squad on her first attempt.
Wong, 15, was the No. 6 seed in the bracket.
Knox’s name now goes on the trophy of the PNGA Junior Girls’ Amateur, which includes past champions such as Jo Ann Washam, Peggy Conley, Joan Edwards-Powell, Mary Budke, and JoAnne Gunderson Carner, all of whom would later be inducted into the Pacific Northwest Golf Hall of Fame after storied amateur and professional careers. Other past champions include current LPGA Tour players Paige Mackenzie and Jimin Kang.
These championships are two of 11 regional championships conducted annually by the PNGA.
About the Pacific Northwest Golf Association
The PNGA was founded on February 4, 1899. It is a 501c3 charitable, international, amateur golf association dedicated to preserving the true spirit of golf by supporting its member associations, conducting quality championships, and promoting activities beneficial to golfers in the Pacific Northwest. For more than a century, the Association has been a pioneer in developing competitions and services and its mission has grown and evolved. Today, the PNGA remains committed to being a truly regional organization providing benefits and services to its members and member clubs throughout the Northwest.