The Scott Robertson Memorial Junior Golf Tournament returned to Roanoke Country Club over the weekend after a one-year absence due to COVID-19.
Make no mistake about it, the competition and quality of the field for this year’s tournament hadn’t lost a beat.
In one of the most impressive showcases in the 37-year history of the Robertson, Ben James, Megha Ganne, Ashnoor Kaur and Patmon Malcom parlayed picture-perfect weather with plenty of golf talent to take home the hardware in the tournament’s four age divisions.
James erased any chance of being caught during Sunday’s final round by shooting a 5-under 66 to win the Boys 15-18 division with a three-round total of minus-9, good for a five-shot victory over Jack Turner of Orlando, Florida.
James, a Connecticut native who has committed to play college golf for the University of Virginia, had opened the tournament on Friday with a 66, before shooting a 72 on Saturday that left him with a one-shot lead over Florida’s Kyo Morishita and Downingtown, Pennsylvania’s Nicholas Gross heading to Sunday’s final round.
But, James put the pedal down early Sunday afternoon, birdieing the first two holes on his way to five birdies on the outward nine and a nine-hole total of 32. Meanwhile, Morishita and Gross were struggling on their way to matching final-round 74s. James cruised on the inward nine, recording two birdies, one bogey and six pars to keep Turner, who was playing in the penultimate threesome, at bay.
Ashton Harper of Roanoke, who was tied for second place after Saturday’s play, finished with a 5-over 76 Sunday to finish tied for 15th.
Ganne, who came into the tournament as the top-ranked girl’s junior golfer, fired a 66 on Friday before winning the 15-18 Girls division with a three-round total of minus-6, 207. That was good for a 7-shot win over Georgia’s Sara Im. Ganne, who has committed to Stanford readily acknowledged Sunday the Scott Robertson win was one of her top moments in junior golf. Ganne followed her 66 with rounds of 70 on Saturday and even-par 71 on Sunday.
Roanoke’s Kathryn Ha, a student at Andrew Lewis Middle School, finished in 13th with rounds of 69-76-77.
Roanoke’s Ashnoor Kaur captured the Girl’s 14-under division adding to her impressive resume in the past twelve months that have included wins in the women’s division of the Roanoke Valley Women’s Hall of Fame, the Roanoke Valley City-County and qualifying for the Masters Drive, Chip and Putt Championship at Augusta National last month.
Kaur fired rounds of 74-77-74 to win the division by five shots over Elsie MacCleery of Crozet, Virginia. Kaur, who just turned 12 years-old on May 12, is the first young lady from Roanoke to win the Girl’s 14-under division and the first young lady from Roanoke to win since Vickie Linkous accomplished the feat in the 1984 and 1985 Scott Robertson, when there were only 3 young ladies in the field.
Kaur put the pressure on Sunday, adding to her 3-shot lead heading to the final round, by playing her outward nine in even par. That left plenty of cushion for her inward nine of 39.
Malcom managed to hold on Sunday to win the Boy’s 14-Under division by one stroke over Benjamin Baker of Broadlands, Virginia. Malcom had recorded a Boy’s 14-under tournament record 6-under 65 on Saturday before struggling to an inward-nine 41 on Sunday on his way to a 77, just enough to edge Baker.