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June 4, 2014

Youngsters unaffected by amazing round at junior PGA event

NORMAN — Some folks just don’t understand how hard the game of golf can be. 

For instance, Choctaw’s Lauren Barnes and Ardmore’s Katie Finley.

Each completed the best round of their young lives Tuesday at the Westwood Junior, an 18-hole PGA South Central Section Junior Tour event, and each — oddly, not so oddly? — didn’t seem so affected by it.

Ah, the spoils of youth.

One of the annual early stops on the tour, the Westwood event drew more than 100 male and female junior golfers Tuesday to Norman’s municipal course.

With several age groups competing, many champions were crowned, though none could have taken their victories in stride any more than Barnes or Finley.

Barnes, a rising junior, posted a best-ever round of 74 to win the girls 16-18 age group by five strokes over Ashton Nemechek and six strokes over Blythe Corley.

Finley, who will be a freshman at Plainview High School come the fall, shot a best-ever 76 in the girls 14-15 age group to clip Peighton Walker by a stroke and Chloe Black by four strokes.

“I thought this course was pretty easy,” deadpanned Barnes. “My coach (teaching pro Craig Benjamin) told me to take 10 or 15 strokes off my game, so I’ve been working hard to do that.”

Barnes said that she’s typically in the middle or high 80s, but her previous best round, at Choctaw Creek, had been an 80. And, questioned, at least, she claimed to be excited.

“I’m just taking it in,” she said. “I don’t act as excited as I probably should be, but I feel it.”

Finley may have struggled to find the proper emotions because the game has tended to come easy for her. She took it up and began playing about a year ago. She even began playing tournament golf about a year ago.

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