BLUFFTON, SC – Young golfers from all over the world touched down in Bluffton, S.C. earlier this week to participate in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship tournament. Among the long list of competitors was Scotch Plains native John Pak, who earned his second bid for the tournament after posting a 4-under par (36 holes) at Concord Country Club in Westchester, PA on June 25.
After the first two days of stroke play in South Carolina where he shot a 74 and 69 respectively, Pak secured a spot amongst the top 64 players, tying for 14th place.
In match play, Pak kept the ball rolling, knocking off Tripp Kinney (Iowa) after finishing a stroke ahead on the 19th hole. In the round of 32, Pak topped Alberto Martinez (Florida) 4-and-2, sinking a birdie on the 16th hole to advance.
Pak continued his dominant streak in the round of 16, narrowly defeating Koichiro Ishika (Japan) 1-up when he parred the 18th hole. In the quarterfinal round, Pak’s momentum wasn’t enough to overcome Eugene Hong (Florida), who squeezed by Pak with a score of 2-and-1.
Despite the late-round loss, Pak has a promising future of golf ahead of him. Prior to moving to Florida, he finished his freshman season at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School recording scores under 40 (9 holes) in 11 out of 12 matches.
The U.S. Jr. Amateur Championship is one of the 13 national golf championships organized by the USGA. It is open to amateur boys who are under 18 years old and have a handicap index of 6.4 or less.
Former champions include Jordan Spieth (2009, 2011) and Tiger Woods (1991, 1992, 1993). The 2015 Championship will conclude on July 25.