VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – David Kocher is a closer.
Kocher came into the final round of the 36th Junior Boys North & South Championship one stroke back of the lead, but made three birdies in his first seven holes on his way to firing 4-under 68 and win the championship by four shots over Pinehurst’s Josh Martin on Thursday.
Kocher, who shared the first-round lead after a 3-under 69 on the 6,740-yard Pinehurst No. 8, entered the final round a stroke back of Martin, who won the 2011 and 2012 Donald Ross Junior Championship at Pinehurst.
But Kocher, of Charlotte, was too much on Thursday. After he stumbled with a 74 in Wednesday’s round, Kocher started hot by making birdie on the 2nd, 4th and 7th holes to make the turn in 33. A pair of birdies around a bogey on the back side allowed to keep a comfortable lead.
Martin was unable to keep up with the streaking Kocher, shooting a 1-over 73 despite making six birdies on the day.
Daniel Wetterich shot 69 on Thursday to share third with 2013 Donald Ross Junior Champion Nick Stafford, who closed with a 72. Both players finished the championship at even par.
In the 36th Junior Girls North & South Championship, Brigitte Dunne entered the final round with what looked to be a comfortable 5-shot lead.
When she stepped to the 17th tee, she seemed to have a comfortable 3-shot lead.
But then she triple-bogeyed 17.
Dunne, of Camarillo, Calif., remained composed, however, making a gutsy par on the par-4 18th at Pinehurst No. 6 before clipping Sarah Spicer with a birdie on the second playoff hole to hold onto the championship despite a final round 76.
Spicer, of Bahama, N.C., shot a sparkling 2-under 70, parring the final eight holes to finish the tournament at 1-under 215 and force the playoff after Dunne’s triple.
Dunne shot an opening-round 67 on Tuesday and followed it with a 72 to lead a pair of golfers by five. Spicer began the day six shots back.
Sera Tadokoro, a member of Hilton Head, S.C.’s International Junior Golf Academy, was third at 2-over 218, three shots back of the leaders.