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PNGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year Ellie Slama wins Pacific Northwest Junior PGA Championship; qualifies for national championship

Ellie Slama of Salem, Ore. and Spencer Tibbits of Vancouver, Wash. won the 2016 Pacific Northwest Junior PGA Championship, a 36-hole event held June 4-5 at The Home Course in DuPont, Wash.

Ellie Slama
Ellie Slama

By winning the boys’ and girls’ divisions respectively, Tibbits and Slama qualified for the 41st Junior PGA Championship, to be held Aug. 9-12 at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I.

Slama, 17, had a final-round 70 for a two-day total of 139 and a 13-stroke victory over Brittany Kwon of Bremerton, Wash. and Jalayne Martinez of Pasco, Wash.

Last fall, Slama was named the 2015 PNGA Junior Girls’ Player of the Year, after her victories in the Oregon Girls’ Stroke Play Championship, OGA Girls’ Centennial Junior Championship and OGA Girls’ Peter Jacobsen Junior Challenge. She was also the co-medalist in qualifying for the 2015 U.S. Girls’ Junior, and would eventually make it to the Round of 32 in that championship.

Slama was honored at the PNGA awards banquet held April 29 at Tacoma Country & Golf Club, held in conjunction with the 117th PNGA Annual Meeting the next day at the club.

Tibbits, also 17, posted a final-round 72 for a two-day total of 143 and won in a playoff against Joe Highsmith of Lakewood, Wash. and RJ Manke also from Lakewood. Tibbits won on the third extra playoff hole.

Tannica Porter of Eugene, Ore. won the Girls 13-15 age division with scores of 77-77-154 to win by one stroke over Lauryn Nguyen of Seattle.

Scotty Kennon of Bandon, Ore. won the Boys 13-15 age division with rounds of 74-69-143 by four strokes over Victor Wang of Sammamish, Wash.

Suzanne Tran of Poulsbo, Wash. won the Girls 12 & Under by one stroke with scores of 82-89-171. She won by one stroke over Grace Lee of Bellevue, Wash.

Daniel Kim of Mukilteo, Wash. won the Boys 12 & Under with rounds of 71-70-141 to win by three strokes over Graham Moody of Vancouver, Wash.

The 41st Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Genesis Networks is open to one boy and one girl champion from each of the 41 PGA Sections, champions of the eight PGA Junior Series events, select national junior tournaments conducted throughout the year and special invitees who have not reached their 19th birthdays as of the final round of the championship.

The Junior PGA Championship has traditionally been a stepping-stone for many of today’s PGA and LPGA Tour professionals, as well as current collegiate stars. Past Junior PGA Championship competitors who have gone on to successful professional careers on tour include Inbee Park, Luke Guthrie, Trevor Immelman, Cristie Kerr, Justin Leonard, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Grace Park, Dottie Pepper, Jordan Spieth, Lexi Thompson, David Toms, Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods.