Nicholas Kilgore (Boys 15-18), Riana Mission (Girls 15-18), Bradley Bourn (Boys 13-14) and Rivers Common (Girls 13-14) won championships in the 2020 Nevada State Junior Amateur held June 30, 2020, at the Legacy Golf Club in Henderson, NV. –by Bill Bowman, Las Vegas Golf Insider staff.
The tournament also awarded AJGA performance stars to top-finishing players that help them earn performance-based entries into future prestigious American Junior Golf Association events around the U.S. that attract many college coaches. AJGA events are difficult to get into and the performance stars are very valuable and sought after.
Nicholas Kilgore used a five-birdie, one bogey final round to win the title in the Boys 15-18 division.
He finished the round in style with three birdies on the back nine–including the final two holes–to post a one-stroke victory.
Kilgore parred his first three holes in the finale before posting a pair of birdies to kickstart his round.
“The finish helps me know I can win,” the Shadow Ridge junior said. “I was just trying to play the last round as if it was just any other round.”
Then his iron play kicked in.
“I was trying to stick it as close as possible to the pins,” Kilgore said. “I was really confident with my wedges, for sure. I hit them well and made some putts.”
He’s hoping to build on the momentum in future AJGA events (he earned eight AJGA stars for the win) and is looking to eventually play college golf.
“I haven’t talked with coaches but I’d mainly like to stay around this side (of the U.S.),” he said. “Maybe around California or Arizona.”
He said the win is a definite confidence booster.
“I feel a lot better about my game after the win,” he said. “I know what I’m doing and I’m committing to shots.”
Nicholas Kilgore, 70-68—138
Andrew Hawk, 67-72—139
Austin Smith, 71-69—140
A two-birdie, no-bogey back nine helped Riana Mission to a one-stroke victory in the Girls 15-18 Division.
Mission trailed by two shots heading into the final round but a one-under-par 71 helped her to the win. She also earned eight AJGA stars for the win.
She admitted she wasn’t thrilled with her start in the final round but turned it around in spectacular fashion.
“I had a pretty stagnant front nine,” the Clark High School senior said. “But when I made the turn I made a 50-foot birdie putt and that really turned things around. I played much better on the back nine.”
She said she’s teed it up at Legacy quite often and had a game plan and stuck to it.
“I was looking to score but at the same time I had a plan from my practice rounds,” she said. “I knew I had to be patient. I knew where I wanted to hit it and that if I followed that plan I would be able to score as long as I was able to execute the shots.”
After her senior season she’s looking to continue her playing career.
“I’ve talked to a few college coaches,” she said. “But with the Covid going on everything’s on hold for now. I definitely want to play Division 1 golf.”
Riana Mission, 74-71—145
Samantha Phelan, 72-74—146
Ryan Flynn, 74-75—149
Bradley Bourn birdied his first two holes on the second day and added birdies on three of his final five holes as he rallied for a one-stroke victory in the Boys 13-14 division.
Bourn trailed by five strokes heading into the final round before his three-under-par 69 gave him the win.
With the win, Bourn received two AJGA stars.
“I was definitely more aggressive on the back nine,” said the Doral Academy at Red Rock ninth grader. “And especially on the par-5 17th. I went for it in two and just missed the green but still got up and down for birdie.”
He said his birdie-birdie start to the second day was key.
“It gave me a lot of confidence,” he said. “I was able to go for pins the whole day.”
His goal coming into the event was just to play steady.
“I wanted to win but I also wanted to just play good, solid golf at least one day,” he said. “I played well both days so it turned out to be a pretty good accomplishment.”
Next up for Bourn is the World Stars of Junior Golf event, an IJGA tournament, in mid-July at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort. He’s the defending champion in his age group.
“I’m sure hoping to get to two in a row this year,” he said.
Bradley Bourn, 73-69—142
Elijah Marshall 68-75—143
Drake Harvey, 73-74—147
It was a simple formula for Rivers Common: Don’t lose her positive attitude. She more than succeeded in that goal and wound up with a seven-shot victory in the Girls 13-14 division.
“For me, at the end of the day I just needed to stay positive,” said the soon-to-be seventh grader at Sid Rogich Middle School. “If you have a positive attitude throughout the day, you’re golden.”
Common, who at 12 years old was competing in the 13-14 age group, said the win will help her confidence going forward.
“It’s definitely my best finish,” she said. “Since golf came back (from the coronavirus), I don’t know what happened. I’ve shot in the 70s just about every tournament. I’ve been doing super good lately.”
With the win she also was awarded one AJGA star. But at her age, she’s not looking to play many AJGA events…at least for awhile.
“I won’t start doing that until I’m older,” she said. “I just played in this tournament for experience. I’m doing all of the SNJGA tournaments and others. This month was packed. I didn’t have a lot of free time.”
She added her final two holes of the round showed how much her confidence is growing.
“I had about a 50-foot putt on No. 17 and hit it way past,” she said. “But I made the 12-foot putt coming back. And then I had a real good up-and-down on 18 so I finished pretty strong.”
Rivers Common, 75-76—151
Cameron Huang, 79-79—158
Lauren Wong, 76-82—158
Haram Lee, 80-78—158