Junior Golf: Bolden wins fourth straight Challenge title
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media June 19, 2012 11:02PM
Bryant Bolden, of Mokena, hits his tee shot on the 14th hole in the boys 16 to18 division in the SouthtownStar Challenge Junior Golf Championship at Glenwoodie Golf Course in Glenwood, Illinois, Tuesday, June 19, 2012. | Joseph P. Meier~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 21, 2012 6:17AM
Bryant Bolden said the round he put together Tuesday “didn’t live up to my standards.”
Bolden’s standards must be high, because his “B” game was good enough to continue his dominance in the SouthtownStar Challenge Junior Golf Championship.
After becoming the first three-time winner in the event’s 13 to 15 Division last year, the move up to the 16 to 18 Division didn’t slow down Bolden, who took home a first-place trophy for the fourth straight year in the 24th edition of the event.
The Mokena native’s five-over 77 was three shots better than Palos Park native Tom Thanasouras, earning him the Joe Jemsek Trophy at Glenwoodie Golf Course in Glenwood.
“I made a couple mistakes that I wasn’t happy with,” Bolden said. “It feels good to win again even though I didn’t play as well as I wanted to. I’m always excited to come to this tournament.”
Bolden overcame strong early-morning winds, which reached up to 28 mph, to put up a 37 on the front nine before a 40 on the back. He birdied nine and 18, and made 11 pars.
“My irons were good and I hit a lot of greens on the front and the back,” he said. “I knew I had to post a good number to win this.”
Bolden is used to sub-80 scores at Glenwoodie, posting a 75 last year after consecutive 78s in 2009 and 2010.
He becomes the second four-time winner in the event, tying Angela Dehning, who captured titles from 2003 to ’06.
Thanasouras, meanwhile, was consistent throughout, putting up 40s on the front and the back.
The 17-year-old Sandburg student had his lone birdie at six, and made 10 pars.
“I was scrambling on a lot of holes,” he said. “I had to get up and down a lot, but my chipping was pretty solid and I was able to get up and down.
“That birdie on six was nice. It was a big turnaround after a bogey on five. I made a nice uphill putt that just dropped.”
Tony Kestel, a 16-year-old Manhattan native and a teammate of Bolden’s at Lincoln-Way Central, took third with an 81.
Kestel took home a trophy in the event for the third time. He was runner-up to Bolden last year, and tied for third in 2010.
“(Bolden) is a good player,” Kestel said. “He deserves it. It was nice to finish third, but overall it was kind of disappointing. It was a tough day.”
Kestel birdied nine and made nine pars.
“The birdie on nine to save 40 on the front was big,” he said. “There were a lot of tough pin placements today. I’m glad I still got a trophy.”