Prieto and Negrete win Orange Bowl International junior titles


Prieto and Negrete win Orange Bowl International junior titles


Courtesy of Junior Orange Bowl International

Nicholas Prieto and Maria Jose Marin Negrete took different paths to win the boys and girls divisions of the 58th Orange Bowl International Junior Golf Championships Thursday at Biltmore Golf Course in Coral Gables, Fla.

Prieto, a Miami native who lives just 20 minutes from the Biltmore, overcame a six-shot deficit in the final round shooting a 6-under-65 to win the boys’ division by two shots over Jay Brooks, while Negrete extended her lead run early in the day to claim a three-stroke victory in the women’s division over Vairana Heck and Anna Davis.

True to its name, this year’s Junior Orange Bowl International once again drew top junior players from around the world to South Florida, with participants from various locations including Ukraine, Jamaica, Serbia, Slovenia , Thailand, Guatemala, Bulgaria, India and Zimbabwe. , Peru, Turkey, Iceland and Barbados complete both rankings.

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Prieto clears six-shot deficit to win boys’ division

Never rely on Nicholas Prieto on anything.

The Miami, Fla. Native, who will play his college golf course in South Florida, started the final day of the Junior Orange Bowl International with a six-stroke deficit after those first three rounds left him at 2 under 211 .

Jay Brooks, who was playing in his own backyard in Coral Gables, appeared to be in a strong position to secure a end-to-end victory as the Florida engagement took a three-stroke lead over England’s Harley Smith.

Knowing he needed a light ride and a little help from the leaders if he was to get back into the title chase, Prieto threw up a pair of aces en route to a two-stroke victory.

Prieto, currently ranked 43rd in the American Junior Golf Association standings, went about his own business by shooting a 6 under 65 bogey-less round, collecting three birdies on each side to quickly move up the standings. . His final round culminated with a nice comeback for the 17-year-old, who followed a 73 Monday with three below-par laps to finish at 8 under 276.

It wasn’t like Brooks gave the tournament away, but a 73 final that left him 6 under 278 wasn’t enough to withstand the Prieto Tsunami.

Brooks, who held the lead after each of the first three matchdays, held the lead for much of the final round until Prieto birdied at No.13 to shoot even 7 under.

But Brooks suffered bogeys on the 15th and 17th as Prieto landed his sixth birdie of the day on the 16th to secure a two-stroke victory.

“My goal the whole time was a 64,” Prieto said. “That’s what I thought it would take to win, but I guess I needed a little less than that.”

Brooks said, “I probably missed 13 or 14 putts within 10 feet. I was hitting the ball really well, but I just couldn’t put it in the hole.

For Prieto, it was another impressive performance in his home country. In July, he went from one wire to another to win the 67th Florida Boys’ Amateur Junior Championship in Inverness.

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Record-breaking third round elevates Negrete to women’s championship

It’s called moving day for a reason.

Entering Wednesday’s third round, Maria Jose Marin Negrete found herself 1 over par and five strokes behind French 36-hole leader Vairana Heck.

Even with plenty of golf remaining, Negrete broke Paula Creamer’s tournament record shooting an 8-under 63, which was six strokes better than anyone else in the girls field that day. -the.

From the 10th hole in the Biltmore, Negrete followed an opening birdie with six straight pars to move into a tie for the tournament.

Then the floodgates opened.

Negrete, from Colombia, had six consecutive birdies to go 7 under the day and after her eighth birdie of the day on her 17th hole, she rose to the top of the standings.

Despite his barrage of birdies on Wednesday, Negrete was only one step ahead of Heck heading into the final round.

Negrete and Heck could keep an eye on each other as they were paired up for the final 18 holes on Thursday, but the Colombian didn’t bat an eyelid.

She continued her scintillating third lap with a 1-under 71 as Heck failed to charge and settled for a 1-over 72. Anna Davis, who ran the cross-country trail towards South Florida from her home just outside San Diego, had too much ground to catch up with but a final lap 67 tied her for second with the Frenchwoman.

“I had a lot of confidence from my round yesterday,” said Negrete. “I felt really good with my putter and was driving the ball down the fairway.” Her total of 8 under 276 was only one stroke behind the junior Orange Bowl girls record set by England’s Lily May Humphries in 2017. She joins a roster of former champions that include Hall of Famer Inbee Park (2002) and the big winners of the LPGA. Cristie Kerr (1994), Lexi Thompson (2009), Ariya Jutanugarn (2010) and Brooke Henderson (2013).

It was Negrete’s 12th win in the world since 2019. She also secured an impressive second place in the first Latin American Women’s Amateur Championship in November, where she finished one stroke behind compatriot Valery Plata.

Jeff Shain of JuniorOrangeBowl.org contributed to this report.

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ABOUT Orange Junior Bowl

72-hole event by invitation only. Players must not have reached their 19th birthday by the end of the tournament and must not be part of a college / varsity team. The field is limited to a maximum of 72 boys and 42 girls representing the United States and foreign countries. There are no age categories and there is no cut during the Championship. The invitations are sent in mid-September. The tournament alumni roster includes current pro players Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson and Lexi Thompson.

The golf tournament is just one of the 15 competitions of the Junior Orange Bowl Festival. This volunteer-run, nonprofit organization hosts athletic, academic and cultural competitions that attract more than 7,500 young people from Miami, the state of Florida, the United States and more than 76 countries around the world. The defining annual event that completes each festival season is the Junior Orange Bowl Parade, a community youth parade that winds its way through the historic streets of Coral Gables with high school and college marching bands, floats and various attractive youth and community groups. over 35,000 families, friends and neighbors. It dates from 1948.

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