Texan holds on to win at Sage Valley

No. 1 Scheffler adds to his haul of major wins

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GRANITEVILLE — Rising to the occasion in a major junior tournament is no problem for Scottie Scheffler, who did it again on Saturday at Sage Valley Golf Club.

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Scottie Scheffler lines up a putt on No. 7 green during the final round of the Junior Invitational at the Sage Valley. Scheffler parred the final hole to shoot 71 and beat Cameron Champ by one shot to win the prestigious event.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Scottie Scheffler lines up a putt on No. 7 green during the final round of the Junior Invitational at the Sage Valley. Scheffler parred the final hole to shoot 71 and beat Cameron Champ by one shot to win the prestigious event.

The No. 1-ranked junior in the country added the Junior Invitational to the U.S. Junior Amateur he won last summer.

“It feels pretty good,” the 17-year-old Scheffler said after beating 18-year-old Cameron Champ by a shot in what turned into a two-man battle for the title in the final round.

Scheffler, the second-round leader, who is from Dallas, closed with 1-under-par 71 to finish at 5-under 211. He opened with rounds of 71-69, making him the only player to break par each day.

Champ, of Sacramento, Calif., was four shots off the lead after the second round, but had the low round of the day with 68. He opened with 71-73.

Brad Dalke, of Hobart, Okla., shot 73 to finish third at 216, five behind Scheffler.

Scheffler and Champ are headed to college in the fall and will be too old to play here next year. Dalke, 16, will return to Sage Valley for the fourth year in a row.

At his post-round interview, Scheffler was asked a couple of times which victory was more meaningful – the U.S. Junior or the Junior Invitational – but he was vague in his answers.

He said the Junior Invitational “was one of the best” and “this one is right up there” and that it was hard to compare the two because the U.S. Junior had a match-play final and this was stroke play.

Finally, he said “yes” when asked if the Sage Valley win was bigger.

Scheffler earned it after overcoming a triple bogey on the 13th hole in Thursday’s first round. From that point on, he played his final 41 holes in
5-under fashion.

He had 36 pars in the three days, none of them bigger than the one he made on the 18th hole on Saturday.

Champ, playing in the group in front of Scheffler, had bogeyed the 18th hole to finish at 4-under for the tournament.

Scheffler, back in the right rough off the tee, was 5-under for the tournament and knew a par would win it. He blasted a 205-yard 4-iron to 15 feet of the pin, which was in the back of the green.

“It was pretty good; it was at a big moment,” Scheffler said of the 4-iron shot. “But it still wasn’t over; I still needed to two-putt.”

He lagged his approach to a couple of feet from the hole and made the par putt for the win.

As he was walking up the hill to the scorer’s tent, Champ, who had watched the finish, walked down to congratulate Scheffler, who was one of his roommates during the week at Sage Valley.

“I knew if I parred there (on No. 18) I’d have a chance for a playoff but I wasn’t able to,” said Champ, whose caddie for the third consecutive year was Augustan Michael Phelps. “That bogey took me out of it.”

Champ was the story on the front nine, shooting 4-under 32 while Scheffler got off to slow start, going 2-over after five holes. Scheffler then struck for birdies on Nos. 6, 7 and 8 to right the ship.

“My putter was struggling at the beginning; it was nice to turn it around,” Scheffler said.

Champ kept coming. He eagled the par-5 15th hole with a 4-foot putt to move to 6-under for his round and pull one ahead of Scheffler, who followed with a birdie on No. 15 to tie it up. They both parred No. 16 and bogeyed No. 17, setting the stage for the drama at No. 18.

Scheffler and Champ have become good friends while playing in the junior ranks, including the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup.

Champ signed to play at Texas A&M, and tried to convince Scheffler to join him at College Station. Scheffler picked Texas instead, so they will meet again in the fall on the next level.

Final results
PlacePlayer, CountryParThruR1R2R3Total
 1Scottie Scheffler, United States-518716971211
 2Cameron Champ, United States-418717368212
 3Brad Dalke, United States018707373216
T 4Kristian Caparros, United States118747073217
T 4Keenan Huskey, United States118727372217
T 6Renato  Paratore, Italy218727373218
T 6Theo Humphrey, United States218697277218
T 6Benjamin Griffin, United States218767171218
T 6Davis Riley, United States218737273218
T 10Austen Truslow, United States318717573219
T 10Jorge Garcia, United States318747273219
T 12YouXin (Robin) Wang, United States518767075221
T 12Austin Connelly, United States518767372221
T 12Benjamin Baxter, United States518737375221
T 15Doug Ghim, United States618767670222
T 15Zachary Bauchou, United States618737475222
T 15Sam Horsfield, United States618707775222
T 18Derek Castillo, United States718767176223
T 18Luis Gagne, United States718797074223
T 18Cameron Young, United States718737476223
T 18Wilson Furr, United States718776878223
T 18Kyle Sterbinsky, United States718737773223
T 18Matt Williams, Canada718727774223
T 24Nick Hardy, United States818737477224
T 24Alejandro Tosti, Argentina818737477224
T 24Andy Zhang, United States818727379224
T 24Jonathan Hardee, United States818797471224
 28David Snyder, United States1018717481226
T 29Michael Hirmer, Germany1118757676227
T 29Robin Dawson, Ireland1118727877227
T 29William Register, United States1118787178227
T 29Thadd Obecny II, United States1118797474227
T 29Keegan de Lange, South Africa1118787673227
T 34Marco Penge, United Kingdom1218737778228
T 34William Gordon, United States1218757974228
T 36Josh Fickes, United States1318767974229
T 36Jonah Texeira, United States1318757678229
T 38Aaron Terrazas, Mexico1418757778230
T 38Dominic Foos, Germany1418787973230
T 38Wo Cheng Ye, China1418847274230
T 41Connor Smith, United States1518777975231
T 41Marcus Byrd, United States1518797676231
T 41Dylan Meyer, United States1518777678231
T 44Trevor Phillips, United States1618767977232
T 44Paul McBride, Ireland1618747484232
 46Sean Crocker, United States2018777386236
 47Will Blalock, United States2118787782237
T 48Sam Burns, United States2218778180238
T 48Collin Morikawa, United States2218788179238
 50Ye Chun (Carl) Yuan, United States2318798476239
 51Ashton Turner, United Kingdom2618778283242
 52Won Jun Lee, United States3318837987249
 53Jan Szmidt, Poland4018798790256
 54Corey Shaun, United States4818858990264

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