17-year-old from Tennessee wins Sage Valley Invitational

GRANITEVILLE — As he walked off the putting green after receiving the blazer and trophy awarded to the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley champion, Zachary Olsen was asked by a couple of young golf fans what the victory meant to him.

“It’s something I can’t tell you right now,” Olsen said. “Maybe later.”

The magnitude of the biggest victory of his career hadn’t quite hit Olsen, but it no doubt will sink in soon. The 17-year-old from Cordova, Tenn., shot 1-over-par 73 on Sunday for a three-shot victory over four other golfers, including North Augusta’s Matt NeSmith. Olsen finished the 54-hole tournament at 7-under 209.

Olsen received a “Sage Valley gold” blazer and a smaller version of the Gibbs Trophy, which was unveiled this year. The trophy features a bas-relief image in cast bronze of the first champion, Nicholas Reach, receiving the winner’s jacket from PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.

Unlike Reach, who couldn’t defend his title because he is now at the University of Georgia, Olsen will return in 2013 looking for a repeat performance.

“I’ve already thought about it,” Olsen said. “How awesome is it to get an invite back to this thing? This is the best tournament in junior golf by far. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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