Roller, Sands win OGA Junior Boys and Girls Championship in style

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By Ken MacLeod

It’s only natural the winners of the Oklahoma Golf Association Junior Boys and Girls Championship would be playing at a high level, having to grind through 27 holes (reduced from 36) of stroke play and four rounds of match play to emerge victorious against the state’s best juniors.

Jenni Roller and Parker Sands were at a level no one else in the field could match this week. Roller poured in 27 birdies and Jenni Roller and Parker Sands were at a level no one else in the field could match this week. Roller poured in 27 birdies and an eagle and was 21 under for the week. She was 3-under through 12 holes in dispatching Jaci Hartman of Burneyville 7 and 6 in the championship match at Lincoln Park West Friday morning.

Parker Sands, a rising junior at Edmond North, was equally relentless. He made just one bogey for the week and was 5-under through 14 holes in a 5 and 4 victory over Rhett Hughes, a senior at Edmond Santa Fe, in the championship match.

Ben Lathrop of Oklahoma City won the boys 14-15 age division title with a 1 up victory over Samuel Bonaobra of Broken Arrow. Earlier in the week Lathrop made a hole-in-one on the par-4, 323-yard 14th hole.

Sands seems nearly fully recovered from a bout of ultracerative colitis in April that caused him to lose 20 pounds, lots of strength and miss several high school tournaments including regionals. He came back for the Class 6A state championship and struggled to an 84 in the first round before recovering with 75-75 to finish. He said h will have to watch his diet and take medication going forward, as the condition is chronic.

In the quarterfinals he was paired with 6A state champion Grant Gudgel and Sands poured in six birdies and an eagle in a 5 and 4 victory. In the semifinals against Sutton McMillian of Choctaw, a 30-foot birdie putt on the 13thhole was a key in a 1 up victory.

Sands, who moved to Oklahoma from Minnesota two years ago, said his family settled in Edmond due to his friendship with Oklahoma commit Ryder Cowan, who plays for Oklahoma Christian School but also at Oak Tree National, where Sands is now a member.  He has a big slate of junior events this summer and will likely be hearing from collegiate coaches beginning June 15 when they can begin contacting juniors.

“This summer is really big for me and this is great way to start it off,” he said.

Hughes, a tall, slim lefty who has signed with Nebraska, knocked off Oklahoma signee Jake Hopper in the quarterfinals then defeated Alex Bloxham of Broken Arrow 2 and 1 in the quarterfinals. He birdied the second hole to grab an early lead against Sands, but Sands evened the match on the third hole with a birdie, then Hughes made several bogeys to fall three holes down at the turn.

“I just made a lot of little mistakes and put it in some bad places,” Hughes said. “I wish I would have had my best stuff, I think it would have been a great match. But he played well.”

Hughes also lost to Sands in match play in the 14-15 age division two years ago.

Roller will be heading to the University of Tulsa this fall and TU coach Annie Young likely cant wait to get her in Blue and Gold after the spring she has had. She was dominant in winning her second consecutive OGA Junior crown, just as she was in winning the Class 3A state championship, where she opened with a 62 at Lake Murray, and the Southern Hills Junior Masters, where she shot a second-round 7-under 66.

She has benefitted from some body rotation drills with Little Rock-based instructor Phillip Walters as well just playing and practicing more than she ever has.

“I’ve been playing a lot more rounds and working on my putting especially,” said Roller, who played 33 holes of match play Thursday and 12 Friday bogey free. “Today was fun. Jaci is a really nice player and it’s fun to play with a really nice person.”

Hartman, a rising junior at Turner High School who has helped lead her team to consecutive Class 2A state championships, struggled in the finals after playing well throughout the week.

“I just hit it awful,” she said. “I couldn’t hit the driver in the fairway and didn’t putt well. But it’s okay. I’ve just got to keep working and getting better. I was thinking against Jenni I was going to have to make as many birdies as possible, but it didn’t happen. I’ve just got to be more consistent.”

Oklahoma Golf Association
2022 Junior Boys and Girls Championship
June 6-9, 2022
Lincoln Park (West)

Finals
14-15 Boys

Ben Lathrop, Oklahoma City, def. Samuel Bonaobra, Broken Arrow 1 up

Left to right, Samuel Bobaobra and Ben Lathrop

16-18 Boys

Parker Sands, Edmond, def. Rhett Hughes, Edmond 5 and 4

Left to right, Rhett Hughes and Parker Sands

Girls

Jenni Roller, Jenks def. Jaci Hartman, Burneyville 7 and 6

Left to right, Jaci Hartman and Jenni Roller

 

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

GOLF OKLAHOMA