Pendleton, Ore. – Jake Rodgers of Mulino, Ore. defeated Braxton McDonald of Coldstream, B.C. by a score of 7&5 to win the 67th Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship; and Jillian Breedlove of Pasco, Wash. defeated June Hsiao of Coquitlam, B.C. by a score of 6&5 to win the 66th Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur.
The two championships were held concurrently at Wildhorse Golf Course in Pendleton, Ore., and were conducted by the Pacific Northwest Golf Association (PNGA). Both championships are considered as counting events for the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), 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.
Rodgers, the No. 21 seed in the Junior Boys’ match-play bracket, won the first hole in today’s match and never looked back. He shot a 65 in the morning 18 to build a 5-up lead, and though McDonald cut the deficit to four on two separate occasions, it was just too much for him to overcome.
“It feels really good,” said Rodgers, “I’ve been playing really good recently and I’ve gotten second a few times, so it feels good to finish it off finally.”
“Putting,” said Rodgers when asked about what was going well for him this week, “I made a lot of putts inside 20 feet and the five-footers you have to make. I was also hitting a lot of bombs which set up for a lot of wedges.”
This victory furthers a great summer of play for Rodgers. In June, he finished runner-up in the Bob Norquist Oregon Junior Amateur, and he advanced to the match-play round of 32 at the Oregon Amateur Championship. Last month he advanced to match play at the PNGA Men’s Amateur Championship. He will be a senior in high-school this fall.
The 16-year-old McDonald is a regular on the British Columbia junior golf circuit. Last month he finished in the top-20 at the British Columbia Men’s Amateur Championship.
Rodgers 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 now the Chief Championships Officer with the USGA.
In the Junior Girls’ Amateur, Breedlove was the No. 4 seed in the match-play bracket. In today’s final match she got off to a bit of a bumpy start, she was 1 up going into the fifth hole and then lost three of the next four to go 2 down. Things picked up on the back-nine in the morning 18 and she was able to build a 1 up lead going into the afternoon.
In this afternoon’s round, she lost the first hole and things were all square. Breedlove then caught fire, she won five of the next eight holes, including four in a row, to build a 4 up lead on her opponent Hsiao. On the back-nine, Hsiao simply couldn’t keep up and Breedlove closed her out on the 13th hole.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Breedlove when asked how it feels to get the win, “It was a grind out there in the heat and playing so many holes, but it feels really good. I’m glad my family was out here with me.”
“The driver felt good all week, I was able to keep it in the fairway most of the time,” she said, “and my putting really helped me in match-play.”
Earlier this summer, Breedlove won the WJGA District 4 Championship, earlier this month she finished T5 in the WJGA State Championship. As a junior this past year, she finished 4th in the WIAA Girls’ State Golf Championship.
At 15-years-old, Hsiao was the youngest player in either of today’s final matches. Last year she finished 5th in the B.C. Juvenile Girls’ championship. This is the first PNGA championship she has competed in.
Breedlove’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 LPGA Tour players Paige Mackenzie and Jimin Kang.
These championships are two of 11 regional championships conducted annually by the PNGA.
About Wildhorse Golf Course
Wildhorse Golf Course is an amenity of the Wildhorse Resort & Casino, which is owned and operated by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The golf course was designed by John Steidel, and opened in 1997. Centrally located between Boise, Spokane and Portland, Wildhorse Resort & Casino is a premier destination for family getaways, business meetings and large conventions. Visit wildhorseresort.com for more information.