Abigail Leighton of Santa Rosa had never competed in match play before, but figured it out quickly.
Leighton knocked off top-seeded seed Jacqueline Lucena of Chico, 2 up, to win the 70th California Junior Girls’ Championship at Quail Lodge and Golf Course www.quaillodge.com in Carmel.
Leighton, who tied for 16th in stroke play qualifying, made bogeys on her first two holes of the final to fall behind quickly, but ran off birdies on the fourth, fifth and sixth holes to grab a 2-up lead and never trailed again.
With her lead reduced to 1-up after Lucena sank a six-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole, Leighton clinched the victory in the tournament that was first played in 1950 with a five-foot par putt to win the final hole.
A junior at Cardinal Newman high in Santa Rosa, Leighton claimed medalist honors twice for the Cardinals last season.
Seeded 18th after posting scores of 77-78—155 in stroke-play qualifying, Leighton ran off five straight victories in match play, getting past third-seeded Andrea Gomez of Santa Clara in the semifinals with an eagle on the 19th hole after being 3 down with five holes to play, touring the last six holes in 5-under-par.
Lucena, who shot 72-69–141 in stroke play, beat Madison Pineda of San Carlos, 4 and 3 to reach the final.
Other winners of the California Junior Girls’ Championship include Christina Kim, Dorothy Delasin, Brandie Burton, Pearl Sinn, Laura Baugh, Lauren Kim, Joan Pitcock, Simar Singh, Nicole Schroeder and Yealimi Noh.
For complete results, visit https://www.amateurgolf.com/images/uploads/00055274.pdf