Roy Jones Junior Golf Classic ends Thursday
Casey Osiecki, center, won the boys' 16-18 division at the 33rd Annual Roy Jones Junior Golf Classic, which ended Thursday at the Kinston Country Club. Osiecki stands next to tournament founder Roy Jones Jr., right, and golf professional Jason York. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
The 33rd Annual Roy Jones Junior Golf Classic came to an end Thursday at the Kinston Country Club with plenty of fanfare and competitive play.
Of the five participating groups, only one had a winner by more than two strokes, with Emily Mathews winning the 12-15 year-old girls group by four.
The closest match occurred in the boys’ 14-15 group as Caden Baker and Garrett Hauk went to the wire. The pair needed two playoff holes to determine a winner with Baker — a rising sophomore from Eastern Alamance High School — finally prevailing.
“It was definitely a lot out there, but I definitely have to thank my caddy, Luke Edwards, for helping me out,” Baker said.
The girls’ 16-18 division crown may not have needed extra golf, but it took the final hole to determine a winner. In the end, Megan Kanaby’s birdie was enough to hold off defending champion Jayla Rogers to win by one stroke.
Kanaby, a rising senior at Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons, was tied with Rogers after the first round and was able to break through on the 36th hole.
"I tried to put (the pressure) out of my mind," Kanaby said. “I just tried to play my game and I knew we were close score-wise, so I just had to finish. It was a great tournament.”
Rogers, a rising senior at Wilmington Laney High School, won the tournament in her first year in 2017 and had her chances of repeating ended at the hands of another talented neophyte.
“We battled the whole round and were even on the turns,” Rogers said. “The last nine holes were really back and forth, and it was a lot of fun.”
In the boys’ 16-18 division, Casey Osiecki was able to maintain his lead and hold off the field. Osiecki, a New Bern native, led in the first round last year and used it as motivation to finish.
“I came into the first day with the mindset of trying to repeat what I did last year,” Osiecki said. “After that, I wanted to stay with the same game plan I had (Wednesday).”
The only Kinston representative in the tournament, Jackson Crocker, stumbled in the first round with a 79, but shot 74 Thursday to finish tied for 19th in the boys’ 16-18 division. Crocker, a rising junior at Arendell Parrott Academy, has participated in the Roy Jones Classic for the past six years and said he enjoys being able to play in his own backyard.
"It was nice to have a tournament at my home course," Crocker said. "I didn't play too well (early), so after the first round, I just took the pressure off and played my game."
In the boys’ 12-13 division, Greenville native Drew Greene used a second-round 70 to overcome a four-stroke deficit for a victory.
"I did a lot of practicing and it feels good (to win)," Greene said.
In the girls’ 12-15 division, Mathews — a rising eighth-grader at Woodlawn Middle School in Mebane — got off to a five-stroke lead in the first day and was able to sustain it for a victory.
“It was exciting competing against older girls,” Mathews said in her Roy Jones Junior debut. “I haven’t seen a course like this — the staff and competitors were nice too. I wasn’t striking the ball well, but I was able to manage my game.”
The founder of the tournament, Roy Jones Jr., said it was another great event.
"This year, we've had 80 boys and 16 girls compete in an outstanding two-day tournament," Jones said. "There are so many nice young men and women with great character here, and just when you think it can't get any better each year, it does. So many of them come back each year to make it such a great tournament."
Casey Osiecki 70-71—141, Pierce Robinson 72-70—142, James Carlin 76-67—143, Matthew Chandler 72-71—143, Davis Fisher 77-66—143
Caden Baker 74-75—149, Garrett Hauk 77-72—149, Cameron Hardison 78-73—151, Tate Bowyer 74-77—151, Andrew Gallagher 73-80—153
Drew Greene 76-70—146, Zihe Bian 72-76—148, Bizzell Pate 78-78—156, Will Guidry 81-76—157, Nathan O’Neal 78-80—158
Megan Kanaby 74-70—144, Jayla Rogers 74-71—145, Deborah Spair 75-77—152, Toni Blackwell 82-75—157, Grace Olmstead 80-78—158
Emily Mathews 74-81—155, Julie Fiedler 81-78—159, Grace Holcomb 80-81—161, Emily Wellspeak 85-80—165, Myranda Vogan 79-92—171