VanArragon Shoots Final Round 1-Under to Win Boys Junior PGA Championship
Caleb VanArragon of Blaine shot a final round 1-under 71 to win the 2017 Minnesota Boys Junior PGA Championship at Chaska Town Course. VanArragon edged out fellow 13-15 age division competitors Connor Glynn of Waconia and Gavin Cronkhite of Lakeville by one shot with his even-par 144 two-day total.
VanArragon along with Cronkhite, who defeated Glynn in a playoff on the first hole, qualified for the 42nd Junior PGA Championship at The Country Club of St. Albans in St. Albans, Missouri on July 31-August 3, 2017.
The winner of the Boys 16-18 age division was Jack Johnson of Chaska who won in a playoff over the 18-hole leader Tyler Westra of Sioux Falls, Muzzy Donohue of Mendota Heights and Colin O’Hern of Dennison.
VanArragon, a 15-year-old, fired one of two under-par rounds on the day and credited his play these past two days to a swing change made after the Minnesota State Junior Boys’ Championship.
“We had the State Junior Boys’ Championship earlier this week and my driver was pretty shaky,” said VanArragon, who also notably shot a 9-under 63 at TPC Twin Cities earlier this season. “The past couple days I’ve been working on shortening my backswing and not trying to kill the ball. I definitely saw results with that.”
His second round 71 was highlighted by 2-under on the back nine which included birdies on the par-4 10th, par-3 14th and par-5 15th. He would drop a shot on the par-4 16th but finished strong with back-to-back pars. VanArragon didn’t envision an ending like this being in the third to last pairing today.
“If I had known that the 4-footer I had on the 18th was to win the tournament, I would have been so much more nervous,” he said chuckling. “I had a feeling that putt could maybe be for second place but didn’t think I could win.”
“It feels amazing. I can’t believe it. That’s going to be the best field I’ve played in,” he added referring to the national tournament.
Cronkhite defeated Glynn on the first playoff hole making a 15-foot birdie putt sealing his spot in the national tournament.
“It’s been a nice couple of days; the course is in great condition,” he said. “I played solid all around and kept the ball out of trouble.”
Cronkhite shared a similar sentiment to VanArragon about qualifying. Although the two are not very close, Cronkhite expressed his desire to get to know his Minnesota companion as the two travel to Missouri.
“I’m looking forward to the whole experience. It will be cool to go with someone from Minnesota as opposed to myself. I’m excited to have the opportunity to get to know him better.”
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