Sixteen-year-old Javier Manrique wrapped up the first big tournament victory of his young career on Thursday at Colonial Country Club, winning the Fort Worth Junior Golf Association Boys Championship by three strokes.
"It feels great," said Manrique, who attends Argyle Liberty Christian. "This is my third year. Last year and my first year, I didn't play well here at the Colonial. I told the guy that runs the tournament, 'I'm really looking forward to tomorrow to play the Colonial. I haven't been good there, but the way I'm playing my game right now, it's just going to be great.'"
Manrique shot an 82 at the par-70 Colonial course in his first city championship in 2010 and shot a 76 last year. This time around, he was able to suppress his past shortcomings and fired a 69, defeating runner-up Johnny Jones of Trophy Club Nelson High School by three shots.
Manrique finished 72 holes at 282 after rounds at Meadowbrook, Ridglea, Mira Vista and Colonial.
It was far from smooth sailing for Manrique on the final day. On the 12th hole, he found himself down one stroke and in a bunker. He knew he had to step up.
"I just thought, 'You can't do this anymore. Just hit a good shot.'" he said. "I hit a good shot and put it within 10 feet [of the hole] and made a birdie."
The shot from the bunker gave Manrique the boost he needed, and he birdied the next two holes as well.
"Those three holes, they gave me a victory," he said.
Manrique said winning the city championship will give him confidence in future tournaments and hopefully will help him grab the attention of college coaches.
"I'll be a junior this year in high school, and there are going to be a lot of great coaches that are going to be watching me," he said. "The biggest thing next is to just play more tournaments, talk to some coaches and see where I go to college."
Jon Poorman, 817-390-7760
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