Floridians Tyler Wilkes (Tampa) emerged from a crowded leader board and Taylor Roberts (Parkland) rallied from a two-shot deficit at TPC Myrtle Beach to win the boys and girls titles at the Fifth Annual Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship presented by Fujikura.
Wilkes shot 72 on March 1 and finished the event at one-under par, edging Caleb Surratt (Indian Trails, N.C.) by one stroke.
Wilkes started the day with a one-shot lead, but David Ford (Peachtree Corners, Ga.) and Surratt each spent time alone atop the leaderboard during the back nine.
Wilkes, a University of Florida signee, trailed Surratt by two strokes when he stepped onto the 14th tee when the tournament swung in his favor. Wilkes made birdie on the 502-yard par five, while ahead of him, Surratt made double bogey on the par four, 15th, staking Wilkes to a lead he never relinquished.
He parred the final four holes to close out the narrow win.
“I love this event and to finally get the victory is something else,” Wilkes said. “It was a little nerve-wracking coming down the stretch.”
Roberts, a Florida State signee, started the final round two shots behind Katherine Schuster (Kill Devil Hills, N.C.) and bogeyed three of the first five holes, but gained ground as Schuster made double on holes two and three. Spurred by a birdie at the par three, seventh hole, Roberts settled down and played well the rest of the way, closing with a one-over 73.
She finished the tournament at four-over par, good for a three-shot victory over runner-up Yoko Tai (Windermere, Fla.).
TPC Myrtle Beach played 6,997 yards from the tips for the boys. The course played 6,018 yards for the girls. The top 40 boys and top 15 girls advance to Sunday’s final round.
The Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship is a 54-hole, college style event that has quickly grown into one of the top junior events in America.
Photo Credit: Dustin Johnson World Junior Golf Championship