McCauley Finishes 2nd in Begay National Championship
November 18, 2020
KINDER, La. -- Allyn Stephens of Houston shot a 7-under-par 65 in the second round of the Notah Begay III National Championship at Koasati Pines GC. That gave her the lead by one stroke over Minnesota State Girls Junior champ Bella McCauley. Eight holes into Tuesday's final round, the two were tied for first, but Stephens birdied four of the last 10 holes for a valedictory 69 and a three-stroke victory in the Girls 14-18 Division.
Stephens, whose father, Joe Stephens, played for two years in the NBA and for six in the European professional basketball league, concluded 54 holes with a winning total of 208.
McCauley shot a final-round 71 to finish second at 211.
The tournament was basically a two-horse race for the last two days, and the two players who tied for third, Chloe Kovelesky and Ava Merrill, wound up five behind McCauley at 216.
McCauley won the Minnesota state high school Class AAA championship by 10 shots as a ninth-grader in 2019 (there was no high school golf season in Minnesota in 2020), and she won the MGA Girls Junior by five over her sister Reese this summer. She looked as if she might run away from the field at Koasati Pines as well when she opened with a 68. That was five better than the next-best score. But she was even par (72) on Day 2 while Stephens was shooting her 65.
On Day 3, nothing changed in the first four holes, as both Stephens and McCauley made all pars. So Stephens was still one ahead. McCauley pulled even when Stephens bogeyed the short, par-4 fifth hole, but Stephens regained the lead with a birdie at the par-5 ninth.
McCauley, a junior who is home-schooled but plays for Simley duriing the high school golf season, parred all nine holes on the front side. She birdied the 489-yard, par-5 10th, but so did Stephens, who added birdie at the 12th (135 yards, par 3). McCauley got back within a shot of the lead with a birdie at the next hole, the 366-yard, par-4 13th, but she bogeyed the par-4 17th. Stephens, also a high school junior, capped off her victory with a birdie at the 464-yard, par-5 18th.
There was one other Minnesota girl in the 14-18 field -- Camille Kuznik of Orono. She tied for 17th with a 227 (77-76-74).
2020 Notah Begay III National Championship
At Koasati Pines
Par 72, 5,813 yards
Pos. Player (Graduation Year) From Scores
1. Allyn Stephen (2022), Houston), Texas 74-65-69--208
2. Bella McCauley (22), Inver Grove Hts. 68-72-71--211
T3. Ava Merrill (23), Johns Creek, Ga. 75-70-71--216
T3. Chloe Kovelesky (25), Boca Raton, Fla. 73-73-70--216
5. Grace McGovern (24), Scottsdale, Ariz. 75-71-71--217
T6. Nicole Felce (22), Holiday, Fla. 73-70-75--218
T6. Kaitlyn Schroeder (23), Jacksonville, Fla. 73-72-73--218
T17. Camille Kuznik (21), Orono 77-76-74--227