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  • GOLF

    Abercrombie, Luo bag titles

    Both get off to fast starts en route to AJGA boys, girls victories
  • Blake Abercrombie wasted little time taking back what he'd lost.
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    • BISHOPS GATE JUNIOR
      RECAP: Blake Abercrombie, of Rocklin, Calif., shoots a 70 to secure a three-shot win in the boys division at Centennial Golf Club. Overnight leader Jessica Luo fires a 71 and claims the girls crown...
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      BISHOPS GATE JUNIOR
      RECAP: Blake Abercrombie, of Rocklin, Calif., shoots a 70 to secure a three-shot win in the boys division at Centennial Golf Club. Overnight leader Jessica Luo fires a 71 and claims the girls crown by two shots.

      OF NOTE: The triumphs are the first for Abercrombie and Luo in AJGA play.
  • Blake Abercrombie wasted little time taking back what he'd lost.
    Abercrombie set a course record to lead the first round of the Bishops Gate Golf Academy Junior at Centennial Golf Club. Then he lost the lead a day later.
    In the third and final round Thursday, he snatched it back with birdies on two of his first three holes and parlayed the fast start into a comfortable win in the fifth annual American Junior Golf Association event.
    Abercrombie, from Rocklin, Calif., was 4 under par through 15 holes to beat back his challengers, and his round of 2-under 70 was good enough for a three-shot victory in the boys division. He previously had rounds of 63 and 72 and finished with a 205 total.
    Brandon Wu, of Danville, Calif., who moved into first place after two days with consecutive 67s, fell back with a 75 and placed third.
    Isaiah Salinda, of San Francisco, eased into second place with a 69 and 208 total, one stroke ahead of Wu.
    Like Abercrombie, Jessica Luo had good things happen early and cruised to the girls division title. She began the day with a four-shot lead, got it to five with a birdie on the fourth hole and ended up with a two-shot victory over Abigail Cantwell.
    Luo's final-round 71 gave the San Jose, Calif., sophomore-to-be a 6-under 210 total. Cantwell, from Scottsdale, Ariz., had the best round of the day, 69, for a 212.
    Medford's Kiana Oshiro began play tied for fourth and wound up there, shooting a 75 and finishing 3 over at 219.
    The tournament is for kids ages 12-18. There were 108 boys and 36 girls.
    Abercrombie, who will enroll at San Diego State in August, trailed Wu by one shot to start with.
    He didn't stress over the deficit.
    "I try to keep it simple," he said of his pre-round routine. "I didn't want to psyche myself out or anything. I just did the same thing and knew if I just played my game and focused on my shots, I hoped it would be good enough at the end of the day, and it ended up being good enough."
    He didn't let up on the gas pedal en route to his first AJGA win.
    "I told myself last night not to be conservative at all," said Abercrombie, "because Brandon obviously was playing good, too. I just stayed in the game plan of being aggressive and gave myself a lot of chances for birdie, and I made some today."
    His hot putter showed itself early.
    Abercrombie sank a 6-foot birdie putt on the first hole, then rolled in a 50-footer on the third hole to move past Wu, who opened his round with four pars.
    Wu then bogeyed the fifth, eighth and 10th holes to fall three shots back.
    Abercrombie's solid driving gave him enviable approach opportunities and kept pressure on his opponents.
    "I was hitting the ball awesome," he said, "so I knew I wasn't going to make very many mistakes."
    By the time he stumbled — with a double bogey from a greenside bunker on the par-3 17th — no one was close enough to take advantage.
    Matt Hedges, of Ashland, had one of the day's best rounds with a 68. He birdied four of his last 10 holes and was 1 over for the tournament, tying for 14th.
    Josh Wu, of Medford, began the day tied for ninth but shot 75 and dropped to co-17th. Medford's Max Davis had a 79 and tied for 40th.
    Luo quickly sent a message to her playing companions, sinking about a 40-foot putt on the first hole for birdie.
    "I wasn't expecting to make it," she said. "I think I hit it too hard but it just bounced in the back and went in, so that was really nice."
    Her birdie at No. 4 was more conventional, requiring only a 4-foot putt.
    She put the fact she had a big lead out of her mind to start the round and didn't dwell on her success early.
    "I try to forget about birdies faster than I forget about bogeys," said Luo, "because I know sometimes it can get to my head. I over-think it and I try to play more aggressive, and that doesn't work for me."
    Luo dropped a shot at No. 10 but made up for it and then some with birdies at Nos. 12 and 13.
    It was her first AJGA victory as well, coming in her fourth try. She placed second in an event last year.
    Oshiro rattled off five pars to open her round, but three straight bogeys followed and prevented her from climbing into the top three.
    "The first two days were a lot better than this day," said Oshiro, who will be a sophomore at North Medford. "I was 3 over for the entire tournament, which is cool. And I got top five, which is pretty cool."
    Mami Yamamoto, of Japan, was third, and Meiqi Gao, of Shanghai, China, tied Oshiro for fourth.
    Bishops Gate Junior at Centennial
    BOYS TOP 10
    1. Blake Abercrombie, Rocklin, Calif., 63-72-70 — 205
    2. Isaiah Salinda, San Francisco, 69-70-69 — 208
    3. Brandon Wu, Danville, Calif., 67-67-75 — 209
    T4. Matt Heitel, Redwood City, Calif., 69-74-67 — 210
    T4. Zachary Smith, Pleasanton, Calif., 71-69-70 — 210
    T4. Kaito Onishi, Irvine, Calif., 71-68-71 — 210
    7. Derek Ackerman, Half Moon Bay, Calif., 68-70-74 — 212
    8. Alexander Lee, Sacramento, Calif., 67-72-74 — 213
    T9. Louie Chen, Fremont, Calif., 75-70-69 — 214
    T9. Logan Lowe, Grass Valley, Calif., 74-73-67 — 214
    Others
    T14. Matt Hedges, Ashland, 75-74-68 — 217
    T17. Josh Wu, Medford, 73-70-75 — 218
    T40. Max Davis, Medford, 71-77-79 — 227
    GIRLS TOP 10
    1. Jessica Luo, San Jose, Calif., 72-67-71 — 210
    2. Abigail Cantwell, Scottsdale, Ariz., 71-72-69 — 212
    3. Mami Yamamoto, Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., 69-75-70 — 214
    T4. Kiana Oshiro, Medford, 71-73-75 — 219
    T4. Meiqi Gao, Shanghai, China, 72-71-76 — 219
    T6. Janet Yeo, Los Angeles, 73-72-75 — 220
    T6. Cynthia Navis, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., 77-71-72 — 220
    8. Alisha Lau, Richmond, British Columbia, 73-71-77 — 221
    9. Hannah Lee, Surrey, British Columbia, 74-74-74 — 222
    10. Tyra Tonkham, Arleta, Calif., 75-76-73 — 224
    * MC — missed cut.
    Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com
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