Aurilia Wins Junior Worlds 15-18 Title

Gavin Aurilia of Phoenix, an incoming freshman at USC, captured the Boys 15-18 Division by four strokes over Matthew Broder of San Diego in the IMG Junior World Championships at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla.

The 17-year-old Aurilia is the son of infielder Rich Aurilia, who played 15 seasons in the major leagues with the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds before retiring in 2009.

“I played club baseball until I was 11, but I didn’t like to practice,” the younger Aurilia said. “I just lost my interest in it when my dad retired. He started to play a lot of golf and I just wanted to play golf with my dad.

“I just stuck to my game plan today. The last four holes were really tough with the wind, so at that point I was just trying to get to the clubhouse with pars. The question was whether if I should keep playing aggressively or conservatively and just get my pars. I’ve been in that situation before where I’ve played conservatively with the lead and it didn’t work out too well. Defensive golf can lead to bogeys.

“‘Stay steady and have them chase you,’ my father told me. ‘You’re leading the tournament for a reason. Just keep playing your game, and you’ll win.’”

Aurilia, who also won the 2020 AJGA Junior at Pronghorn Resort in Bend, Ore., posted a score of 72-71-66-72—281, 3-under-par, while Broder finished at 73-73-69-70—285 and Ian Maspat of San Diego was third at 67-72-72-76—287, followed by Jeremy Chen of Taiwan at 67-72-72-77—288 and Jonas Appel of Encinitas at 74-70-71-74—289.

Shea Lague of Jamul shot 71-77-72-70—290 to tie for sixth with Inigo Izuzquiza of Spain, who finished at 71-76-72-71—290, and William Walsh of San Mateo, who wound up at 74-71-69-76—290.

Hogan Park of Walnut posted a score of 73-75-71-72—291 to tie for ninth with Zachery Polo of Rocklin, who shot 70-76-72-73—291, Ian Gilligan of Reno, who totaled 72-77-73-69—291, Johnny Walker of Chandler, Ariz., who finished at 73-77-71-70—291, Keaton Vo of Austin, Texas, who wound up at 76-71-69-75—291, and Raymond Dennehy of Princeton, Mass, who came in at 74-72-70-75—291.

Aurilia will play next week in the U.S. Junior Championships at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst, N.C.

Among those who won IMG Junior World Championships, which date to 1968, and went on to greater stardom include Amy Alcott, Notah Begay, Brandie Burton, John Cook, Dorothy Delasin, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Corey Pavin, Pat Perez, Joan Pitcock, Nick Price, Kim Shipman, Craig Stadler, David Toms and Tiger Woods.

Photo Credit: Gordon Seay

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