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It was a hole-by-hole grind and a constant series of comebacks, but Needham resident and Beaver Country Day rising junior Rebecca Skoler refused to be denied on August 9 at the Massachusetts Junior-Amateur Championships at Framingham Country Club.
The 16-year-old shot six-over (73-79-152) throughout the 36-hole tournament, and strung together five birdies on the final 18 holes to fight off Anne Walsh (The Country Club) to capture the Girls Junior-Am title after shaking off a bit of a slow start to the afternoon.
“After the first two holes, I knew just to not get ahead of myself and to stay calm and stay in it,” said Skoler. “I know that I can make birdies when the time comes, and they will start to drop. I had a 30-foot putt on hole three that I drained. That was really nice, and I was happy to make that putt.”
Skoler entered the final 18 holes with a three-shot lead but quickly saw it disappear with a double-bogey and a bogey on the first two holes. Skoler responded with birdies on three of the next five holes to finish the front-nine at two-over (38), building herself a three-shot lead.
“None of the birdies I was really expecting to make, which was kind of nice,” said Skoler. “I started to get a little worried, but I knew just to stay in it and the birdies would drop.”
After a bogey on the 10th cut the lead down to two, Skoler made birdie on the par-five 12th to push her lead back to three. Skoler finished with a bogey on 14, but made par on three of the final four holes to preserve the lead, capturing her first career Junior Amateur title by a mere one stroke ahead of Walsh.
“I wasn’t too happy after the first few holes, but I was able to make some birdies and come back, sort of,” said Skoler about her final round. “I was playing pretty well at the beginning of the back nine until 14, the par-five with the really hard pin placement. I had an eight-foot eagle putt and ended up bogeying the hole. It was a really hard pin placement. After that I think that I lost a little bit of momentum and confidence, so I didn’t finish as strongly as I would have liked to, but I am so happy that I won.”
Information from MassGolf was used in this report.