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Albany’s Crews wins SJGT tourney at Doublegate with final round 71

Albany's Josh Crews finished the two-day tournament with four birdies and just one bogey.

Albany's Josh Crews finished the two-day tournament with four birdies and just one bogey.

ALBANY — Josh Crews remembers last year’s Doublegate Junior Open all too well.

The former star golfer at Deerfield and Herald Player of the Year took a three-stroke lead into last year’s final round of the Southeastern Junior Golf Tour tournament before losing the lead — and the tournament — to Billy Shuman of Jekyll Island.

“I came off the last hole thinking I had won,” Crews said. “I was kind of shocked.”

Crews wasn’t going to let anybody catch him this year.

Entering Sunday’s final round of the 36-hole tournament tied for the lead, Crews shot a 71 at Doublegate Country Club to win the 16-19 age group by four strokes.

“I had come in second and third a lot this summer,” the 17-year-old senior said. “I had been winning after the first day and then would have a bad second day and lose by a stroke or two.”

Crews said he thought about those lost leads as he prepared for Sunday’s final round.

“Of course you think about it,” he said. “But you have to change your thought process and think positive.”

Pretty much everything about Crews’ round on Sunday was positive. He shot a 2-under 34 on the front nine and finished up the back nine with eight pars and a bogey. Tifton’s Jacob Flynt was tied with Crews for the lead after the opening round but finished with a 3-over 75 to come in second.

One day after opening the tournament with a nearly-flawless 24-putt performance, Crews had 28 putts on Sunday.

He also played his first 33 holes throughout the first two rounds without a bogey. He finished with just one bogey, which came Sunday on the par 3 16th.

“I had been working on my short game a lot, and my chipping and putting has improved because of it,” Crews said. “The longest putt I had for par all day was seven feet.”

Atlanta’s Will Chandler beat Duluth’s Matt Collins in the a playoff to win the 14-15 age group, while Albany’s Bill Sharpe finished fifth. Sherwood’s Tyler Hanson shot a final round 74 to move up into a tie for sixth place with Leesburg’s Chase McLain.

Other local golfers in the 14-15 age group were Albany’s Tyler George (10th), Charlie Ellis (12th­) and Ethan Shellhaas (13th); and Leesburg’s Seong Lee (16th).

Other winners were Roswell’s JonErik Alford (12-13 boys), Saint Simons Island’s Mary Ellen Shuman (15-19 girls) and Suwanee’s Lauren Lightfritz (12-14 girls).

This was the sixth year the SJGT has held the tournament at Doublegate.