Romero Wins Girls Polo Classic Title

Kiara Romero of San Jose is on a roll.

The 15-year-old Romero, who last week captured the 71st California Junior Girls State Championship, followed that up by winning the Girls Division in the 42nd American Junior Golf Association’s Polo Golf Junior Classic at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J.

“These last few years I never won an AJGA tournament,” said Romero, the 2020 Girls Junior Tour of Northern California Player of the Year, who will be a sophomore at California Connections Academy in Ripon.

“I’ve gotten runner-up, so it just feels really good to finally get the win.”

Romero finished second at the 2020 AJGA Junior at Sunriver, and third at the 2020 AJGA Longbow Golf Cup Open and AJGA Lake Las Vegas Junior before finally breaking through for her first AJGA victory.

Rated 46th in the Rolex AJGA Girls Rankings, Romero finished 6-0 during this week’s match play, and extended her undefeated streak in match play to 11 matches with her 2-up victory over 44th ranked Katie Li of Basking Ridge, N.J., to claim the title.

Romero held a 2-up lead with birdies on the fourth and eighth holes before Li rallied to take the lead by winning the 10th, 12th, and 15th holes, but Romero claimed the title with birdies on the last three holes.

Nicholas Dunlap of Huntsville, Ala., who has committed to Alabama, was 3-down to Benjamin James of Milford, Conn., a Virginia commit, after 10 holes and never led before winning the last two holes of regulation and winning with a par on the second playoff hole.

“I don’t think it has settled in yet,” said Dunlap, who also was 6-0 for the week. “From being 2-down with two to play to ending up winning just shows me to never give up. For this to be my first AJGA and invitational win out here, it’s just awesome, it makes it so much better.”

Previous winners include Tiger Woods, Stewart Cink, Trevor Immelman, Akshay Bhatia, Matthew NeSmith, Ollie Schniederjans, Jamie Lovemark, Spencer Levin, Casey Wittenberg, Brian Harman, Erik Compton, Brian Watts, Michael Bradley and Sam Randolph in the Boys Championship.

Past Women’s Championship winners include Lexi Thompson, Ariya Jutanugarn, Morgan Pressel, Paula Creamer, Beth Bauer, Grace Park, Kellee Booth, Emilee Klein, Vicki Goetze, Jaye Marie Green, Lucy Li, Rachel Heck, Linnea Strom, Vicky Hurst, Angela Park, Aree Song, Heather Farr, Amy Benz and Jenny Lidback.

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