AUSTIN - Max Miller of College Station, Hailee Cooper of Montgomery and Thomas Critch of Cedar Park won their respective divisions at the sixth annual George Hannon Junior Invitational. The Hills Country Club's Signature Course played host to 85 elite junior golfers for the second time in three years.
The George Hannon Junior Invitational is considered the "Tour Championship" for the Legends Junior Tour, as the elite field is selected using the College Golf Camps of America Points List. The event, which is run in partnership with the Hannon Cup Association, was created to honor one of Austin's golf legends, George "Coach" Hannon.
Miller, who has verbally committed to Texas A&M, began the day two shots back of first-round leader Reid Davenport of Austin. Miller carded six birdies and an eagle for a final round 6-under-par 66. That gave him a two-day total of 8-under 136, good for his second George Hannon Invitational victory in three years. Miller also won the 2012 George Hannon Invitational at The Hills Country Club.
"I struggled with my short game at the Junior PGA and decided to take a week off and just practice," Miller said. "I didn't really know which short game would show up this week, but I found the lines on the green and made some putts."
Cole Hammer of Houston finished runner-up, a year after winning the Boys 14 & Under division at UT Golf Club. His final round 7-under 65 was the low round of the tournament. He finished at 5-under 139 overall and shared second place with Ryan Grider of Lewisville. Garett Reband of Cleburne took fourth place at even-par 144, followed by Chandler Phillips of Huntsville at 1-over 145.
Cooper, 14, has been on a tear of late. After winning the 88th Texas State Junior Championship hosted by the LJT in July, she rattled off back-to-back AJGA victories in Southlake and Austin. Cooper's eight-stroke victory Tuesday at the George Hannon Invitational was her fifth in a row on the LJT and makes her a virtual lock for repeat Player of the Year honors.
"It's been a good stretch," Cooper said. "My iron play stands out and I scrambled this week but made a lot of putts. These LJT events are so much fun. I set a goal of making the Jackie Burke Cup and repeating as Player of the Year."
Ann Parmerter of Austin was the runner-up in the Girls 12-18 division with a two-day total of 153. Chandler Rosholt of Cedar Park finished in third place at 154.
In the Boys 14 & Under division, Critch rebounded from an opening round 77 to shoot the only under-par round of the tournament in his division. His two-day total of 4-over 148 was good enough for a one-shot victory over three players. It was the third win in seven events this year for Critch.
"I set a goal of shooting under par today," Critch said. "I liked my chances if I did that and I turned out to be right."
Crosy Guercio and Jenson Rogenes, both of Frisco, and Holden Wisener of Dallas finished 36-holes at 5-over 149. Jake Wittschiebe of Fair Oaks Ranch rounded out the top five.
The LJT would like to thank the staff and membership of The Hills Country Club for their generous hospitality and support as well as the numerous college coaches in attendance this week. Next year's George Hannon Junior Invitational is set for August 17-18 at Spanish Oaks Golf Club.