Morton goes wire-to-wire for its first state win at the Minnesota State Junior Girls’ Championship

June 27, 2024 | 4 minutes

BLAINE, Minn. – Amelia Morton, who shot three straight under-par rounds this week, clinched her first state championship with a final-round 70 at Victory Links Golf Course on Thursday to win the 79th Minnesota State Junior Girls’ Championship.

Morton’s wire-to-wire victory over Minnetonka junior Selena Wu on Thursday marks the largest margin of victory since Samantha Sommers claimed a 14-shot victory at Windsong Farm in 2007.

“This win really makes me happy and proud,” Morton laughed on Thursday. “It’s crazy to think that I won it after being so young and playing in the First Flight so many times. It motivates me to keep going knowing that I can put three good scores together.

“I think I stayed patient this week; during the first lap I couldn’t drop anything. Yesterday was windy, so I knew the scores would be higher and par would be a good score.”

Morton opened the championship with a 1-under 70 and then extended her lead by shooting a 2-under 69 during Wednesday’s second round, giving her a significant seven-shot lead going into the final 18 holes of play.

“I was more focused on beating the golf course,” Morton said. “I tried not to think about the other players and where they were. I just wanted to play my own game.”

Morton got off to a fast start during her final round, converting a pair of birdie opportunities through seven holes before taking back-to-back bogeys on the eighth and ninth holes to move to 3-under for the championship.

She bounced back by taking advantage of her birdie look from eight feet on the 12th, but gave a stroke back with a bogey on the 13th.

Morton couldn’t save par on the 16th hole and fell to 2-under for the championship. However, on the 17th hole she hit a tap-in birdie inside four feet to get back to 3 under.

With the tournament already in hand, Morton made one final birdie chance from 12 feet on the 18th hole to take a resounding eight-stroke victory over Wu at 4-under 209.

“Happy with my driver, I stayed on the fairway pretty well the first two days,” Morton said. “I struggled a little bit more today, but because I stayed out of the bunkers, the rough and the thick fescue was big for me.”

Morton finished third at the 2021 Minnesota Public Golf Association Junior Public Links before taking third place at the Class AAA championship last June at Bunker Hills Golf Club.

After finishing fourth at last year’s State Junior Girls’ Championship, Morton finished eighth at the Minnesota State Open at StoneRidge Golf Club.

Morton put together a spectacular final season for the Crimson and was nominated for the Ms. Minnesota Golf Award. He would eventually finish second at the Class AAA championship, one stroke behind medalist Carmen Jirele.

Wu, who finished second last year, recorded a par of 71 in the opening round on Tuesday and shot a 4-over 75 in the second round. This puts him seven holes behind Morton with one round to go.

On Thursday, Wu played her first 13 holes at 3-over par before hollowing out her approach on the par-4 14th from 72 yards with her sand wedge for eagle to move to 5-over for the championship.

Wu stopped her charge within five feet at the 18th hole and made her final birdie. She finished on a par of 71, eight strokes behind second place with a score of 4 over par 217.

“Yesterday and the day before, I was doing well,” Wu said Thursday. “Not so much today, but I was hitting my drives mostly in the fairway, so I was able to hit more greens and make shorter putts.”

In 2023, Wu finished sixth at the Minnesota Junior PGA Championship, after which he finished runner-up to Olivia Salonek in last season’s event at Hastings Golf Club.

Just four days later, Wu claimed the first victory of her career by defeating Waverly Yang in a playoff to claim the MPGA Junior Public Links Championship at Oak Marsh Golf Course.

Earlier this season, Wu shot 78-84 to finish tied for 31st in the Class AAA championship at Bunker Hills.

Despite two straight bogeys in her final round on Thursday, Wayzata junior Lauren Chambs posted a final-round score of 72, good for third place at 6-over 219, 10 strokes behind Morton.

Orono senior Ava Hanneman shot a 3-over 74 during Thursday’s final round to finish tied for fourth with recent Sartell graduate Shayla Nordlund and Minnetonka sophomore Kieley Hanson at 8-over 221.

Beginning in 2025, the winner of the Minnesota State Junior Girls’ Championship will be exempt from the US Girls’ Junior Amateur.