Griffin Wins Second Straight U.S. Kids Golf Teen World Championship

Benjamin Griffin, 15, of Chapel Hill, N.C., successfully defended his 2010 Teen World Championship title with a third consecutive under-par round (71-70-71=212) in the Boys 15-18 Division. This was Griffin's first occasion to compete in the Teen event on Pinehurst No. 2 and he made the most of the opportunity, finishing 4-under-par.

Griffin brought a one-stroke lead over William Gordon of Davidson, N.C., into the final round. Griffin gave up little ground, making two birdies and six pars on his first eight holes. "I have played with William before, and he hits it long," Griffin said. "I know what he's capable of doing in a tournament."

Gordon pulled even on No. 10 with an eagle, but Griffin responded on No. 14 with a birdie. He saw that as the turning point in the match for him. "It was all-square going into No. 14, but I was able to make a move when I birdied that hole, and I felt really good down the stretch being one up with one hole to play. I just tried to stay focused and not get overwhelmed with myself."

With that one-stroke lead approaching No. 18, Griffin coolly made a closing par to finish one shot ahead of Gordon. Griffin felt less pressure this week because of last year's victory in the Boys' 14 Teen event. But he also credited strong putting during Friday's round in his solid performance.

"I hit the ball the same each day, but I really made more putts on Friday which made a difference," the champion observed. "I knew I had to keep the ball in play in the final round and give myself the chances for birdies. If I didn't make the birdie, then I wanted to be able to leave myself reasonable par putts."

Gordon finished the tournament at 3-under-par to claim second place for himself. His second-round 67 was the lowest score turned in the three days of play.

Jose Alberto Hernandez of the Dominican Republic and Lee McCoy of Palm Harbor, Fla., tied for third, four shots behind Griffin. Hernandez carded a 1-under-par 71 with four birdies to tie four others for the round of the day. McCoy, who recorded a second-round 68, shot a final-round 72 with three birdies and three bogies. Kushal Singh of India and Andrew Phillips of Madison, Ga., tied for fifth at 2-over-par 218 for the tournament.

The above report is courtesy of the U.S. Kids Golf Foundation, a Georgia non-profit that was created in 2001 to provide competition and instruction. The foundation organizes more than 500 golf tournaments for kids each year, including local tours in more than 40 cities, 10 Qualifiers across the nation, six Regional Championships, a European Championship and the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship and Teen World Championship, which are held each year in Pinehurst, N.C.

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