Angus O’Brien has been getting in a lot of golf during a winter break from school in Barwon Heads, Australia.
On a trip to the United States, he played in two American Junior Golf Association events. He tied for 43rd place in the Eagle Crest Junior Championship at the Ridge Course in Redmond, Oregon in June.
He tied for seventh at the Kyle Stanley Championship by Transamerica Qualifier, also in June, at Canterwood Golf & Country Club in Gig Harbor, Washington. O’Brien qualified to play and tied for 36th.
But his best outing, by far, came in Napa, as he won the boys overall title of the Junior Golf Association of Northern California’s “Champ” Junior Championship. O’Brien, playing in the 16-18 age division, shot an even-par 72 on the North Course on Monday and followed it up with a 3-over-par 75 on the South Course on Tuesday in the two-day, 36-hole event at Silverado Resort and Spa.
The “Champ” Junior Championship, open to boys and girls, ages 12-18, is put on by the Johnny Miller Champ Foundation. It’s a premier event on the JGANC circuit and earns players traveling team points.
“Great scores. He was just consistent,” said Andy Miller, Silverado’s design director, who also assists his dad, Johnny Miller, a 25-time champion on the PGA Tour and one of Silverado’s owners, in the golf course design business.
“To come out here and beat these guys kind of on their home turf, it’s pretty cool.”
O’Brien and other top age-group finishers were honored near the Grove afterward. The top placers each received an Odyssey Stroke Lab putter, courtesy of the Johnny Miller Champ Foundation.
Johnny Miller, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, created the Johnny Miller Junior Golf Foundation in 1993 to promote junior golf. In 2015, the foundation was renamed the Johnny Miller Champ Foundation, to honor his father, Larry Otto Miller, and his legacy in golf.
O’Brien completed the tournament at 3-over 147. He finished two shots in front of Gregory Mouser, who had rounds of 78 and 71 for a 149 total. Daniel Nunez (76-74 – 150), Yuxuan Zou (77-73 – 150) and Collin Yee (79-71 – 150) were three back.
“I didn’t really make any big mistakes,” said O’Brien, 16, whose home is located near Geelong, Victoria, Australia. “I didn’t miss many greens, which takes the stress off.
“I was really happy with myself today.”
O’Brien played a practice round Sunday on the North Course, which is where the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open is held. Johnny Miller, who retired earlier this year from NBC Sports after 29 years as the network’s lead golf analyst, is the tournament host of the Safeway Open.
“To get out here and to be able to play the North Course, where the Safeway Open tees it up, I think that’s pretty cool,” said Andy Miller, a Justin-Siena High School graduate, who was a four-time NCAA All-American at BYU and is a member of the BYU Hall of Fame. “After you’ve played it and then when you watch it on TV, it’s that much more meaningful, right? You remember it. That’s pretty cool.”
O’Brien had a three-shot lead after the first round.
There were 108 players – both boys and girls – in the “Champ” Junior Championship. The JGANC, a nonprofit organization that began in 1970, offers a “variety of fun, competitive, affordable junior golf tournaments” for youths ages 7 to 18, according to its website, jganc.bluegolf.com.
There are 75 events on this year’s JGANC schedule and tournaments are played at private, semi-private and public courses. “(Johnny Miller) has opened up his world class golf courses to our juniors for two days, providing them an opportunity to play two great golf courses,” said Shane Balfour, executive director of the JGANC. “He opens up his facility to the kids and parents. It’s remarkable what he does for junior golf. Johnny’s tremendous support is incredible.”
There were additional divisions for players ages 12-13, 12-14, 14-15 and 15-18. Depending on age divisions, the courses were set up ranging from 5,700 to 6,700 yards.
“The kids don’t get to play a golf course of this caliber very often,” said Balfour. “It’s a really good, strong test. And I think that they welcome the test.”
In Australia, O’Brien plays out of 13th Beach’s two courses, located at Barwon Heads, and Kingston Heath Golf Club, located in Melbourne.
Before he leaves to return home, O’Brien will play golf at The Olympic Club in San Francisco and the California Golf Club of San Francisco, later in the week.
Pan win girls overall title
Ashley Pan, a 2019 graduate of Campolindo High School-Moraga and an All-Diablo-Foothill League player for the Cougars, won the girls overall title, shooting 74-76 – 150 in the 15-18 division.
“It’s an honor to win here,” said Pan, a resident of Moraga, who plays out of Boundary Oak Golf Course in Walnut Creek.
“My wedges allowed me to score better. My putting was really good on the first day, as I was sinking a lot of putts, so it helped. The conditions were difficult as it was a windy. The speed of the greens were fast. There were things that you had to adjust to.
“I played a practice round a year ago here. I felt like I like remembered everything. It really helped me to know how to like place the ball so that I’d have the best chance of scoring on the hole.”
Pan will attend Dominican University of California, located in San Rafael, in the fall and will play for the women’s golf team on a scholarship. She plans to major in nursing.
Pan was followed by Madison Starke (74-78 – 152), Nicola Kaminski (78-75 – 153) and Samantha Lin (77-76 – 153) in the girls 15-18 division.
Pan shot 74 at the CIF North Coast Section Division I Championships last year at Tilden Park Golf Course in Berkeley. She advanced to the CIF/Northern California Golf Association Championships and shot an 83 to finish 44th at Woodbridge Golf and Country Club.
Kush Arora (72-72 – 144) of Pleasanton won the boys 12-13 title.
Malia Loo (83-76 – 159) of Millbrae won the girls 12-14 title.
David Llewellyn of Fresno (75-74 – 149) captured the boys 14-15 title.
Napa Valley entrants
There were five Napa Valley players in the tournament.
Katie Robinson of American Canyon (82-82 – 164) was 14th in the girls 15-18 division.
Dylan McIntyre of Napa (87-82 – 169) was 24th and Rocco Lee of Napa (85-88 – 173) was 27th in the boys 16-18 division.
Nicholas Young of Napa (84-81 – 165) was 13th and Samuel Gomez of Napa (94-85 – 179) tied for 21st in the boys 14-15 division.
Napa Junior Championship
Napa Golf Course at Kennedy Park will host the Napa Junior Championship for boys and girls, 12-18. The JGANC event is Aug. 3.
The entry deadline is July 26.
Visit jganc.bluegolf.com for more information.