The Phoenix Metro Junior Championship sponsored by Van’s Golf Shops teed off this past weekend, February 25-26, with a competitive field featuring some of Arizona’s top junior golfers – boys and girls – ages 8-18 competing in five different age groups.
In the Boys Championship Division, the final round went right down to the wire with a three-player playoff between Dillon Dean, Brasen Briones, and Jacob Medina. Dillon Dean took home the hardware after a hard-fought finish, making a clutch birdie on the first playoff hole to secure the victory out at Stone Creek Golf Club. The Scottsdale local turned in a spectacular performance with a first-round 3-under-par 68 followed by a second-round 73 to end up 1-under-par 141 for the event, one of three players in the field to be in red figures. His first round 68 at Stone Creek Golf Club tied for the lowest score of the tournament along with Jacob Medina who made a late push in the final round to force a playoff. Dean continues his hot streak to kick off the 2023 season with three top-10s and now a victory under his belt. Briones parred to place second after the final playoff hole. Five strokes back from the lead heading into Sunday, Oro Valley’s Jacob Medina carded a 68 to get into contention and his final round consisted of five birdies including three-in-a-row on the back nine.
In the Girls Championship Division played at SunDance Golf Club, Nicole Kato of Scottsdale hung onto a one-stroke lead late with a 10-over-par performance (77-77–154) and Izzy Piazza out of Phoenix finished runner up after losing her first-round lead (75-80–155). Nicole Kato led the field in scoring average after her steadiness and persistence on the course helped her prevail and come out on top of the leaderboard with a +5 scoring average. However, Izzy Piazza went on to have two hot streaks during the weekend with a total of six birdies. Nikki Bowen out of Surprise placed third in the contest with two rounds in the high 70s (78-79–157), including an eagle on the nearly 500-yard par five.
Nicolas Drake out of Mesa ended up winning the Boys 15-18 Division over at Stone Creek Golf Club in impressive fashion, a 7-shot margin. Drake carded a 4-over-par performance in the opening round to take a three-stroke lead and then never looked back as he continued to widen the gap, (72-75–147). Ethan Butters of Chandler won the Boys 13-14 Division at Sun City – Riverview Course at 3-under-par (71-70–141). Cason Dezzani out of Scottsdale took top honors in the Boys 11-12 Division at Sun City-Riverview Course at 2-over-par (37-37–74). And Cat Dann out of Mesa won the Boys 10 and Under Division at Sun City-Riverview Course after finishing the tournament 4-over-par (36-40–76).
In the Girls 15-18 Division, Sadie Wagner out of Scottsdale led the field by two strokes out at SunDance Golf Club with a 16-over-par scorecard for the tournament (79-81–160). Hannah Nguyen, based in Phoenix, finished with a one-stroke advantage in the Girls 13-14 Division over Aubrey Pizzillo after a 23-over-par performance (80-87–167). Samantha Evangelista, Queen Creek, shot 10-over-par to secure her victory at Sun City-Riverview Course in the Girls 11-12 Division (39-43-82). Phoenix local Kimsey Terrell got the victory at the same course with an 8-over-par 82 to clinch by two strokes.