Hakala & Megan Climb Leaderboard All Week to Claim NH Junior Titles
Concord, NH – Josiah Hakala and Julianna Megan hung around the top of the leaderboard all week of the New Hampshire Junior Championship at Beaver Meadow Golf Course and were able to convert their efforts into a win in their respective divisions. Hakala worked his way to the top, finishing in a tie for first place, needing extra holes to determine the winner while Megan played her best round of the week to win by one stroke. Both leave as first-time New Hampshire Junior Champions, etching their names into New Hampshire golf history.
All week, Hakala was lingering near the top of the leaderboard, but he was always joined by numerous other golfers, including Sam Maurice, Nick Nowak, and Will Miele, which made for an exciting final round as the scores were posted. As the leaderboard shifted between leaders all round, it was Hakala and Miele that were standing out among the others, especially Miele who ended up carding two-under par, 69 to project himself up the leaderboard.
Starting two shots back of the leader, Sam Maurice, Hakala got off to a strong start in the final round going par-birdie to get things going. He followed that birdie up with a bogey but remained at even-par for the day. Another birdie fell on Beaver Meadow’s 14th hole, but unfortunately Hakala ran into trouble on the 16th hole and carded a triple bogey, setting himself back.
“16 was just a disaster but I kind of just hung in there, I was only two back after that, so I kept the mindset of how I started out the day”, stated Hakala.
Making the turn, Hakala played steady golf, rolling in the necessary par putts and carding one birdie to get himself back to one-over par for the day and two-over for the tournament. That two-over par ended up being good enough to get himself into a tie for the lead with Miele, who led the field after the first round of the championship.
“I didn’t make quite as many putts as I thought I could have but I hung in there”, commented Hakala. “I had a putt to win on 18 and just missed it.”
Heading to the playoff, Hakala and Miele both made par on the first playoff hole, forcing them to the 2nd hole at Beaver Meadow. Hakala mentioned he hit two of the best shots he’s hit all year on that hole, his drive and his shot out of the bunker, leaving him a close putt to win the hole. He said, “Having a tap in four to win was nice, no stress. It felt great.”
This is Hakala’s first New Hampshire Junior Championship title, getting it done on a golf course he knows well. He joins golfers like James Pleat, Joe Leavitt, Brandon Gillis and Jack Pepin in winning the New Hampshire Junior, all who have gone on to claim a New Hampshire Amateur title.
In the Girls Division, Julianna Megan began the day tied for the lead, looking to separate herself from Teagan Nadeau and Mady Savary throughout the day, but the two held on coming down the stretch. Improving upon her scores from the first two rounds, Megan carded a 75 (+4) to win by one stroke over Nadeau.
“The last two days, I was able to work some things out with my swing and feeling the rhythm of my putter”, stated Megan after her win. “So today I was able to put it all together and my swing felt good. I missed a couple lip outs that I really wanted but it all worked out.”
Megan’s first nine of the day was smooth and steady, rolling in seven par putts and just two bogeys to make the turn at two-over par. This first nine is where she started to separate herself from Nadeau. Nadeau carded four bogeys and just one birdie to make the turn at three-over par, one shot back of Megan at this point.
Heading to Beaver Meadow’s front nine, both Megan and Nadeau made birdie on the 2nd hole and bogeyed the 3rd hole. Nadeau got things back to tied as she saved par on the 4th hole while Megan made bogey. It wasn’t tied for much longer after that as Nadeau made back-to-back bogeys after that to drop two shots back of Megan. It got back to a one-stroke difference at the end as Megan was not able to save par on the final hole, but with a two-shot cushion before that, Megan was able to claim the title.
Having improved on her first two rounds, Megan commented on what works for her at Beaver Meadow saying, “It’s a straightforward course. There aren’t too many hazards, and you get rewarded for feeling good with your swing.”
She certainly felt comfortable in that final round, improving three strokes over her previous rounds and had the confidence in her game to capture her first New Hampshire Junior title. She now adds this win alongside her win last year at the New Hampshire Women’s Amateur and this year’s Players Invitational.
The NHGA would like to thank Beaver Meadow Golf Course for their hospitality this week in hosting the state’s top junior golfers.
NH Junior | Boys Results | Girls Results