Entering play Sunday, for Ryan DeCastilhos, winning the AJGA Winn Grips / Butch Harmon Senior Showcase was a bit of a long shot.
Though starting with a very respectable 2-over 73, 11 players sat between him and the top spot.
However, when you have the opening nine Decastilhos had, ground can be made up very quickly.
DeCastilhos, a student in the Post Graduate Program at the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, posted birdies on Nos. 2, 3 and 7 at Angel Park Golf Club in Las Vegas as he turned in 3-under 32. DeCastilhos, of Oregon, didn’t make a bogey until No. 15 and saved his best moment for the final hole. Needing a birdie to force a playoff at 1-under 141, DeCastilhos drained it to send it to extra holes.
DeCastilhos, who hit 16 greens in the final round, and Eduardo Gonzalez battled back-and-forth through four playoff holes but it was DeCastilhos who prevailed with a par to close out the victory.
“It feels good to see the hard work pay off, “ said, DeCastilhos, who has not yet committed to a college golf program. “It’s also humbling to reach this level … This tournament helped me gain a ton of recognition with coaches. College golf is the ultimate goal.”
DeCastilhos joins a long list of GGGA students claiming AJGA victories. The most recent was Kevin Yu’s big win at The Junior PLAYERS Championship in September. Other notable wins include Morgan Hoffmann (2008 AJGA HP Boys Championship), Patrick Winther (2008 AJGA Polo Classic & 2009 AJGA HP Boys Championship), Jason Roets (2011 AJGA Puerto Rico Junior Open), Monifa Sealy (2011 AJGA Puerto Rico Junior Open) and Fumie “Alice” Jo, the 2014 U.S. Women’s Public Links Champion, who won the 2015 AJGA Gary Gilchrist Junior at The Seagate.