GOLF: Barbaree, Hack Go Wire-to-Wire at Kokopelli; Pavloff finishes strong with a 76

A blustery and overcast day greeted the players in the final round of the PGA Junior Series event at The Links at Kokopelli. Philip Barbaree of Shreveport, Louisiana and Anna Hack of Murray, Kentucky, both claimed wire-to-wire victories in the boys' and girls' divisions, respectively.

Each gained an exemption into the 39th Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Genesis Networks, July 29 - Aug. 1, at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas.

Barbaree closed his phenomenal week with an even-par 71, giving him a tournament total of 7-under-par 206 and a 10-stroke victory.

"All I wanted to do today was get off to a solid start and keep the ball in play," said Barbaree. "Whenever I made a couple mistakes I was able to bounce back with birdies. I had a very solid week and I'm thrilled to be going back to the Junior PGA Championship." Barbaree competed in the Junior PGA Championship in 2013.

Varun Chopra of Champaign, Illinois finished second at 216, while Gen Nagai of Japan finished third.

Hack, who posted a final-round 73 for a tournament total of 222, was able to hold off a strong charge by Katherine Smith of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, to win by two strokes. The pair were tied heading into the final hole, and Hack was able to hit a wedge close and make birdie to seal the victory.

"I'm so happy with the steady golf I played all week," said Hack. "Making a birdie on the last hole to win is always a satisfying feeling. Getting back to the Junior PGA Championship this year after missing a year is going to be awesome."

Smith closed with a 1-under-par 70 for a 224 total. Meredith Moir of Louisville, Kentucky and Cayce Hendrickson of Benton, Kentucky tied for third.

Pavloff Cards Final Round 76

Kolton Pavloff [Du Quoin] finished strong in the final round of the PGA Junior Series event at The Links at Kokopelli. After getting off to a rough start in the first round, Pavloff improved his second round score by five strokes shooting 82. The final round score of 76 was a solid score on a very difficult golf course.

"Things didn't start well for me in the first round," Pavloff said. "I just never got on track. I played much better after that. My ball striking improved, and I was much more consistent off the tee. I put a new driver in my bag last week. There's always a transition period any time you have new clubs. I was much more comfortable with it as the tournament progressed."

Pavloff was happy to improve each round but was disappointed to finish 22nd out of 33 golfers. "I made it tough on myself. If I post a decent number in the first round, I could have easily had a top 15 finish. Shooting 76 in the final round is a solid number. The course setup was long with some difficult hole locations. It was a challenge."

Next up for Pavloff will be the Jackson Junior Tournament at Jackson County Country Club in Murphysboro on Monday.