Wilson, Zhang capture titles at WJGA State Championship
14-year-old Angela Zhang won the overall title in the girls 14-18-year-old division at the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship in Moses Lake on Thursday.
Ian Bivona/Columbia Basin Herald
Washington Junior Golf Association district flags fly at the first tee box at the Moses Lake Golf Club. Each of the six districts sends a set amount of golfers to the state tournament, which Moses Lake hosted for the first time this week.
More than 250 golfers ages 8-18 competed at the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship this week, hosted at the Moses Lake Golf Club, The Links at Moses Pointe and Lakeview Golf & Country Club.
A golfer putts on the 18th green at the Moses Lake Golf Club in the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship.
A golfer takes a swing onto the ninth green at the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship on Thursday.
A golfer lines up a shot on the ninth green at the Moses Lake Golf Club in the Washington Junior Golf Association State Championship on Thursday.
Sports Reporter | August 10, 2023 4:26 PM
MOSES LAKE — After three days of competition, the 47th Annual Washington Junior Golf Association’s State Championship concluded at the Moses Lake Golf Club on Thursday, with winners crowned across the eight separate divisions.
Angela Zhang, 14, of Bellevue, won her second straight WJGA overall title in the girls ages 14-18 division, and Ben Wilson, 15, of Burlington, won the boys ages 14-18 overall title.
“I always enjoy playing events in Washington and having the support of everyone here at home,” Zhang said. “It’s really great to be able to win here two times now, super special, and I can’t wait to compete here next year.”
Wilson finished eight-under par throughout the three-day tournament, shooting a 67 in round one, a 73 in round two and a 68 in round three.
“The 14-15 (division), that’s what I mainly had my mind on, losing by one going into the last day,” Wilson said. “I had a good round going, I was three-under through 16 (holes), and I realized I might have a chance to win the overall. I knew it was close.”
The 15-year-old’s birdie on the final hole clinched an overall title for Wilson.
“I knew, to win, I was probably going to have to make a birdie on the last hole – which I was able to do, which was really cool,” Wilson said. “Hit it well on the green, hit a nice two-putt.”
Zhang won the 2022 WJGA State Championship in Blaine after shooting three-over par throughout the three-day tournament and finished 13-under par at this year’s tournament in Moses Lake. The 14-year-old shot a 64 in round one, a 70 in round 2 and a 69 in round three.
“I think it helped a lot, knowing that I’ve done it before and am capable of winning,” Zhang said. “That’s definitely helped me have more confidence going into this week.”
This wasn’t Zhang’s first time playing at the Moses Lake Golf Club, as the 14-year-old won last year’s Washington Women’s Amateur at the same course.
“I won the Washington Women’s Amateur in Moses Lake last year too, so I definitely knew the course pretty well,” Zhang said. “Course management and just where to place myself around this course. I really enjoy playing out here.”
The WJGA State Championship was held over a three-day span at three local courses; the Moses Lake Golf Club, the Links at Moses Point and Lakeview Golf & Country Club. It was the first time the event was hosted in Moses Lake.
“It was a great week, the three golf courses were tremendous hosts,” WJGA Executive Director Tyler Johnsen said. “The staff was really accommodating. Monday was our practice round day and we had the hard rain, so it was extra work on the golf course staff.”
Youth golfers ages 8-18 competed in eight different divisions; boys and girls ages 8-11, boys and girls ages 12-13, boys and girls ages 14-15 and boys and girls ages 16-18.
“Pretty much all the best (golfers) are here,” Johnsen said. “The golf courses provide a good test, so the cream rose to the top.”
Despite some weather concerns that disrupted Monday’s practice rounds, the courses held up for golfers during the week.
“I thought the course was in great shape, it was cool,” Wilson said. “The greens were soft, which I like – you can stick some wedges. The fairways were wide enough and I hit my driver straight enough where I could get myself into a lot of great spots and try to convert a lot of birdies. Great week, shout out to the people around the course.”
Both Wilson and Zhang said they look forward to chasing more titles in future tournaments in the coming years.
“It’s cool, I’ve got a few more years here to try to win a couple more, that’s the hope,” Wilson said. “You don’t just win and stop here, you have to keep improving, keep reaching higher points. Hopefully, I can come back later and win it again, that would be great.”
Ian Bivona may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.