In what had been a nondescript final round of the AJGA Junior at Centennial Golf Club, challenger Brian Humphreys made his move early on the back nine Thursday.
He dropped an eagle putt on the 11th hole right in front of Dylan Wu, the local favorite and leader of the American Junior Golf Association event.
RECAP: Medford's Dylan Wu shoots 2-under par on his final round to hold off Brian Humphreys, of Washougal, Wash., and claim his second career AJGA victory. His three-day total is 209, or 7 under par, and is good for a three-shot victory.
OF NOTE: Wu's win marks two straight years a local player has captured the 4-year-old event. Kevin Murphy, of Rogue River, was the Boys Division champion in 2012.
Wu didn't flinch. He answered with a steely putt of his own, making birdie to maintain a one-stroke lead. Two holes later, he ushered momentum squarely into his corner with another birdie en route to his second career victory on the national circuit.
Wu shot a 2-under-par 70 to hold off Humphreys for a three-shot victory in the 54-hole, stroke-play tournament. Wu's score for three days was a 7-under 209.
With the result well in hand, Humphreys, of Washougal, Wash., bogeyed the final hole for a 71 and a 212 total.
Ben Albin, of Santa Fe, N.M., and Joshua Gliege, of Eagle, Idaho, tied for third at 213.
Ashland's Ramon Hedges fashioned a 71 and tied for 16th at 217.
In the Girls Division, Ziyi Wang, of Beijing, China, finished off a wire-to-wire triumph. Her 1-under 71 put her at 203 and assured a pleasant trip to her homeland after six weeks and five tournaments in the U.S.
Wang's score is the best for girls in the four-year history at Centennial. Bethany Wu had the record at 204, accomplished last year.
Wu's previous AJGA win came a little more than two years ago at the Emerson Junior Classic in Poway, Calif.
"It feels really good," said the 17-year-old. "It especially feels really good winning it at Centennial because of all the local support I've had here. It's just a place I love playing at and I feel confident at."
Following two consistent rounds to grab a two-shot lead heading into Thursday's play, Wu was eager to go low and finish with a bang. But the fuse never reached the powder.
He manhandled four of the five holes that represent the best birdie opportunities — three par 5s and the short, par-4 13th — but otherwise never got on a hot streak similar to so many in the past.
"Yeah, the whole round, we didn't have too many fireworks at all," said Wu, who will be a senior at St. Mary's High and was sporting a hat and shirt of his college of choice, Northwestern, to which he's verbally committed for golf. "I didn't really have that many opportunities for birdies today. When I did, they just lipped out. I hit some good putts that didn't go in."
Wu birdied the second and ninth holes, both par 5s, and bogeyed the eighth to make the turn at 35.
Humphreys hung around by shooting 36 on the front.
The two aren't strangers. In an Oregon Golf Association tournament at Centennial in early June, Humphreys finished second, two shots ahead of Wu.
This time, Humphreys trailed by two heading to the par-5 11th, where he rocketed a 3-wood some 250 yards into the wind to within 15 feet.
"I gave myself a great chance and took advantage of it," Humphreys said of his downhill, right-to-left beauty.
Wu had a feeling it would fall. Humphreys eagled the same hole in June.
Wu then sized up his 10-footer and dropped it to keep a one-shot advantage.
After both made pars at No. 12, with Wu lipping out a birdie putt, they each had short second shots at No. 13.
Wu's drive hit in front of the green and bounded off the back, leaving him a downhill chip, which he left about 12 feet from the hole. Humphreys ended up about 4 feet closer.
Putting first, Wu made his birdie. When Humphreys' attempt slid by, resulting in par, he slapped his thigh in disgust and Wu enjoyed another two-shot cushion.
"That probably was the changing point of the whole tournament," said Wu.
Holes were getting more scarce for Humphreys.
"I just wanted to steadily pick up more strokes on Dylan," he said. "I knew that I had some holes to play, so I wasn't trying to force birdies or anything. But I definitely wanted to make sure I caught up to him. I guess I just didn't do it quick enough."
Humphreys had a string of six pars before the bogey at the 18th. Wu finished with five pars, saving one at the last with a nifty flop shot after his approach sailed long and right and short-sided him to the pin.
"I just played consistent golf without many mistakes," said Wu. "I only made a few mistakes, just some small mistakes.
"I knew I was under par the whole day, and if I shot under par, I knew I'd win because somebody had to shoot 66 or 67 to come back to beat me."
Wang, meanwhile, had consecutive birdies early in her round. She tallied another birdie on No. 17 against two bogeys.
"My round wasn't as good as the last few days because my putter was off," she said. "I birdied Nos. 2 and 3 and was feeling good until I three-putted on No. 8, but I told myself to just keep going. I made a birdie on No. 17 from more than 3 feet, and that's when I felt OK. This was my last tournament before going back to China, so I feel like I ended on a really good note."
Mackenzie Perez, of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., was second at 212, and Haley Moore, of Escondido, Calif., was third another stroke back.
AJGA Junior at Centennial
BOYS TOP 10
1. Dylan Wu, Medford, 70-69-70—209 -7
2. Brian Humphreys, Washougal, Wash., 71-70-71—212 -4
3. Joshua Gliege, Eagle, Idaho, 72-72-69—213 -3
3. Ben Albin, Santa Fe, N.M., 70-72-71—213 -3
5. Joe Harvie, Orting, Wash., 72-71-71—214 -2
5. Tate Tatom, Gallatin Gateway, Mont., 73-72-69—214 -2
7. Jake Staiano, Cherry Hills, Colo., 72-72-71—215 -1
7. Joe LaHorgue, Kentfield, Calif., 71-72-72—215 -1
7. Aaron Whalen, Ephrata, Wash., 72-72-71—215 -1
7. Ryan Gronlund, Pleasanton, Calif., 73-71-71—215 -1
7. Jeffrey Miller, Phoenix, Ariz., 73-71-71—215 -1
7. C.J. Coleman, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 75-68-72—215 -1
7. Zachary Smith, Pleasanton, Calif., 73-72-70—215 -1
T16. Ramon Hedges, Ashland, 74-72-71—217 +1
GIRLS TOP 10
1. Ziyi Wang, Beijing, China, 65-67-71—203 -13
2. Mackenzie Perez, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., 71-71-70—212 -4
3. Haley Moore, Escondido, Calif., 70-68-75—213 -3
4. Jordan Ferreira, University Place, Wash., 71-71-72—214 -2
5. Olivia Benzin, Tacoma, Wash., 72-75-70—217 +1
5. Kelly Lee, Chino Hills, Calif., 76-70-71—217 +1
7. Tyra Tonkham, Arleta, Calif., 72-75-71—218 +2
7. Janet Zhang, Richmond, B.C., 74-71-73—218 +2
9. Jessica Luo, San Jose, Calif., 73-74-73—220 +4
9. Sarah Archuleta, West Linn, 72-73-75—220 +4
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