Minnesota Golf Association

Steady Down the Stretch, Kuznik Holds off Welch to Win State Junior Girls' Championship

July 10, 2018

 
 
By Nick Hunter
nick@mngolf.org
 
 
  MONTICELLO, Minn. – Surviving a late push by Emma Welch, Camille Kuznik clinged to a one-stroke lead, making a key up-and-down for par at the 17th before rolling in a 6-footer for par on the final hole to  claim the 73rd Minnesota State Junior Girls’ Championship Tuesday at Monticello Country Club.
 
Kuznik entered the final round in a tie for second, one shot off the lead following her round of 74 to open the championship Monday. A birdie by Welch at the 15th and a bogey by Kuzik put the two into a tie for the lead, but Kuzik made two crucial par saves down the stretch to earn her biggest victory to date at 4-over par 146.
 
“I wanted to go as low as I could today,” Kuznik said following her win Tuesday. “I know there are so many holes out here that you can birdie and I wanted to take every opportunity I could and I feel like I did. I made a lot of birdies and made a lot of putts.
 
“Coming into today I knew I had a chance and wanted to pull through. I’m really happy about it and on one of the holes I knew I was ahead and just wanted to keep the lead and don’t do anything crazy.”
 
Kuznik carded four straight pars before taking bogey at the fifth to fall to 4-over for the championship. She quickly rebounded by sinking a 6-footer for birdie at the sixth and a 20-footer for birdie at the seventh to move back to 2-over.
 
Bogeys at the ninth and 10th holes put Kuznik at 4-over once again, but she would stick her approach inside six feet at the par-5 12th. Following a bogey at the 13th, Kuznik’s tee shot at the par-3 14th stopped three feet from the pin and she would convert birdie to move to 3-over for the tournament.
 
Finding the trees left of the 15th led to a late bogey by Kuznik as Welch carded birdie playing in the group ahead to pull even at 4-over, however, Welch would take a bogey at the 16th to finish at 147.
 
Kuznik’s tee shot at the par-3 17th landed short and right of the green, but she chipped close for a tap-in par to maintain a one-stroke victory. On the final hole, Kuznik’s approach rolled to the back of the green and her birdie putt stopped six feet short of the cup. She buried her par putt to win her first state championship at 4-over par 146.
 
“On the last hole I almost had a three-putt—I was so scared. I thought it was going to lip-out at first, but it went right in. I felt good about my round today—it was up-and-down, but I kept it simple and played hole by hole. I wasn’t really thinking about my score.
 
“The last tournament I played I was missing so many simple putts. I had one three-putt yesterday, but keeping the three-putts down really helps. It felt good to not have any today.”
 
Kuznik, who will be a sophomore at Orono High School this fall, has a pair of junior championships to her credit, winning the Minnesota Section Junior PGA Championship 12 and Under Division as well as the Warrior Cup Girls’ 13-15 Division. In 2015 she advanced to Augusta National Golf Club where she competed in the national finals of the Drive Chip and Putt Championship.
 
As a seventh grader, Kuznik placed in a tie for 35th at the Class AAA state tournament in 2016 and improved to an 11th-place finish a year later. Kuzik posted a 5-over par 149 to finish fifth individually last month.
 
Welch fired a round of 75 to open the tournament Monday and answered with a round of 1-over par 72 to tie Kuzik for the low round of the championship.
 
““Yesterday on the front nine I could not make a putt, but turned it around on the back nine and shot even,” Welch said. “Today I wanted to go out and try my best and make more putts than yesterday. I made a couple long birdie putts and getting up-and-down from all over the place.
 
“This is going to motivate me to work harder, especially my putting because I missed so many putts the first day that could’ve dropped. I’m going to have fun, come back next year and see what happens.”
 
Janice Kim posted back-to-back rounds of 74 to finish in third place at 148, while 18-hole leader Maddie Herzog carded a final-round 79 to finish tied for fourth with Aayushi Sarkar at 152.
 
 
 
73RD MINNESOTA STATE JUNIOR GIRLS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
MONTICELLO COUNTRY CLUB

MONTICELLO, MINN.
5,889 YARDS, PAR 71
 
 
FINAL RESULTS
1. Camille Kuznik, Burl Oaks GC, 74-72—146
2. Emma Welch, Brackett’s Crossing CC, 75-72—147
3. Janice Kim, Timber Creek GC, 74-74—148
4. Madison Herzog, Detroit CC, 73-78—151
5. Aayushi Sarkar, Youth on Course, 78-74—152
6. Molly Stevens, 76-77—153
T7. Megan Munneke, Tianna CC, 79-75—154
T7. Megan Welch, Brackett’s Crossing CC, 78-76—154
9. Madison Hicks, Hazeltine Nat’l GC, 79-76—155
10. Claudia Kim, Legacy Golf, 82-75—157

 

Download Full Results: Minnesota State Junior Girls_ Championship Leaderboard 2 2.pdf


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