Category - Amateur Programs
Texas (RGN) Captures Girls' Title at the 2023 PGA High School Golf National Invitational
By Greg Dillard
Team Texas (RGN).
Texas (RGN) from San Antonio recorded a three-day total of 920 to win the girls team championship at the 2023 PGA High School Golf National Invitational presented by Titleist & FootJoy on July 12.
Georgia (LMB), the 2021 and 2022 girls team champions, finished second at 955, followed by New Jersey (HYA) in third with 956, Tennessee (ENS) fourth at 962 and Arizona (HLT) at 964 in fifth.
Texas (RGN) led wire-to-wire over the three-day, 54-hole event conducted on the Fields Ranch East and West courses at PGA Frisco as well as Old American Golf Club. They posted a team score of 22-over-par 310 on Wednesday at Fields Ranch East to clinch the victory.
Marissa Loya led the team with a 1-over-par 73, which included birdies on the 111-yard par-3 4th, 320-yard par-4 5th, 290-yard par-4 7th and 92-yard par-3 17th holes. She finished T-5 on the individual leaderboard at 7-over-par 222.
“I tried to stay patient and also know that it was God’s plan and all I could do is hit the ball and stay patient and play smart,” said Loya.
Lydia Portlock (5-over-par 77), Camille Pazouki (7-over-par 79), Maria Ortiz (9-over-par 81) and Danielle Bailey (12-over-par 84) were the team’s four other final-round scores.
For Texas (RGN), the victory meant a little extra following last year’s runner-up finish at Pinehurst Resort.
“Honestly, it means a lot,” said Portlock. “To be able to come out to a new venue and get the win, that was a really good feeling this year. We knew that Lambert (Georgia LMB) was coming because they won their state championship. I knew that we were going to have to play some good golf to beat them.”
Athena Yoo from Georgia (LMB) approached the par-5 455-yard 18th hole thinking she held a two-stroke lead. After checking the updated individual leaderboard, Yoo realized she actually trailed Angelina Kim (New Jersey HYA) by a single shot.
Yoo, who is coached by PGA Professional Shawn Koch, knew she needed to at least birdie the final hole to force a playoff. She went for the green on her second shot and landed in the rough 20 yards past the hole.
“I was like ‘Okay I got this. I can get up and down,’' said Yoo. “But it just went in. I was really shocked. I usually don’t chip in. It was really surprising.”
Yoo’s hole-out for eagle won her individual medalist honors, giving her a final-round 4-under-par 68 and a tournament-record total 6-under-par 209. Kim finished one stroke back (5-under-par 210); Lisa Herman (Oklahoma JNK) finished third at 1-under-par 214.
“I’ve played a lot of tournaments this summer and I knew I needed a win,” said Yoo. “I placed a lot of second and third places. It really means a lot to me and is really a confidence booster.”
As the individual medalist, Yoo will receive exemptions into the 2024 North & South Junior Championship and the 2023 Junior PGA Championships.
The 2023 PGA High School Golf National Invitational is the first amateur championship played at PGA Frisco and the fifth edition of the event since its debut in 2019. The invitation-only field consists of golfers who have won their respective state high school championships as a team or as an individual from small, large, public or private schools. Individual and team champions are crowned following the three-day 54-hole stroke-play event.
The Boys Invitational is scheduled for July 17-19 on the Fields Ranch East and West Courses at PGA Frisco as well as The Tribute Golf Links.