March 31, 2023
Anna Davis, Aldrich Potgieter dominate en route to 2023 Junior Invitational titles at Sage Valley

Anna Davis, Aldrich Potgieter dominate en route to 2023 Junior Invitational titles at Sage Valley

GRANITEVILLE, SC — Last year, the Junior Invitational in Sage Valley featured a pair of heats to decide the boys’ and girls’ titles. The theme of this year’s event was Wire to Wire Winners.

Aldrich Potgieter and Anna Davis frontlined all week at the nation’s premier junior tournament and will leave the pristine club among the South Carolina pines wearing the event’s signature gold jackets and trophies. Each player had a five-shot lead going into Saturday’s final round and won in impressive fashion.

“I went into the week wanting to win, thinking I was going to win,” Davis said after the final round. “I’ve always had high expectations for myself.”

Nika Ito, who finished second solo, holed out from the fairway for eagle in the 17thhe hole to put pressure on Davis, who was aware of the classification all afternoon.

“It’s the second time I’ve been holed out for having the advantage, so I was used to it and I thought: ‘Okay, okay. It happens,’” ​​Davis said. “When you’re in that position, you have to wait for that to happen so it doesn’t catch you off guard.”

Davis responded with a “pretty bad second shot” that narrowly missed the water protecting the 17th.he green.

“I had room because I am left-handed. If he was right-handed, he would have been standing in the water,” Davis explained. From there, the rising star followed Ito’s lead and contributed to stopping the momentum.

Davis, an Auburn fiancee, turned 17 on Friday and celebrated her birthday by walking in the winning putt from the 18th green with a bit of swagger to finish at 7-under-par for the tournament.

“Kind of a jerk move,” he said with a laugh after the round. “From the first moment I thought, ‘That has to be in it,’ so I put it in.”

Ito finished two shots back at 5-under, with Kiara Romero in third at par after shooting the lowest round of the day of 5-under 67.

Next up for Davis is her title defense in two weeks at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, where she will enter with even more pressure and expectations following her 2022 victory.

“I think it helps to know that I can play in this area,” Davis said of the momentum he will take in his ANWA title defense. “Augusta and Champions Retreat are very similar to this course. I think being able to play this type of golf, being comfortable and familiar with the area is always very helpful. So I think that adds to my win from last year.”

Potgieter, the defending British amateur champion, made eight birdies to win by a whopping 10 shots to set a record for the largest margin of victory in tournament history. The South African shot rounds of 65-70-68 to finish at 13-under for the week. Lee Byungho and Aaron Pounds finished T-2 at 3-under, with Eric Lee in fourth at 1-under and Preston Stout in fifth at even.

“Yeah, it was an amazing week, I really enjoyed it,” Potgieter said of his Junior Invitational debut and win. “Today was a good round. I struggled for a stretch, the fourth par 5 I missed a five foot or so for birdie and then I missed one in five. So that was a bit of a disappointing break, but he knew the back nine had plenty of chances and even with three par-5s to play, he still had the confidence to put a good score on the board.

“I always go back to what Tiger Woods said, you don’t come to a tournament not to win. I came here to prepare for the Masters and winning here gives me more confidence,” added Potgieter. “I think this golf course is pretty similar to Augusta National, so I’m taking this as a learning curve for that course and if I play like that this week, I think I’ll do pretty well.”

Potgieter was pleasantly surprised that the rest of the guys had trouble scoring while he was under par every day this week.

“Most of the guys were a little bit mad at me because I was hitting it 50 yards and I passed everyone,” he quipped with a laugh, “so I guess that makes the golf course a little bit easier, taking everyone. the bunkers and still get into play.”

As the British amateur champion, Potgieter earned a place on the field for the 2023 Masters and will join Davis at Augusta National in two weeks.

More Junior!

Anna Davis, Aldrich Potgieter lead the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley, where no advantage is certain

With their sights set on Augusta National, Aldrich Potgieter and Anna Davis lead the Junior Invitational early at Sage Valley

Sage Valley Junior Invitational competitors drop bombs into the night with PGA Tour pro Tom Kim

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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