By AJGA Staff
The Woodlands, Texas – Nicholas Gross of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, won the 2023 AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods with a final score of 11-under-par 205. The win is his first since 2021.
“I had good vibes coming in, but to be able to pull it out this year is pretty special. It’s my first AJGA win in 14 months so pretty proud of that. There’s a lot of talent out here so when you do win it’s special because you know how tough it is to do. So I’m really happy and really proud.”NICK GROSS
Beginning the day three shots back of the leaders, Gross needed a quick start to get back into competition. He found that start with two birdies on his first three holes before a bogey on hole five. He finished the front with two more birdies and a bogey to make the turn at 7-under-par. He locked down a bogey-free back nine with four birdies to register the low final round with a 6-under-par 66.
Gross came into the event as the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 4 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. He was playing in his second AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods after finishing runner-up in 2022.
“I started looking at the leaderboard on 11 and at that point I was two back. I knew I was close, so I just kept making birdies and when I looked again I got the lead for the first time on 16 after I made a big putt. Ethan [Fang] was right behind me so at that point I didn’t really know, I could only do what I could do. I got off the course and my friends said he lipped out his birdie putt on 17, so chances were I would come out with the victory and that’s what happened.”NICK GROSS
Also sharing a lead at one point during the final round was Ethan Fang of Plano, Texas. He began the day two shots back of the leaders and carded three birdies on the front to put himself into the lead. He also carded one birdie on the back before falling just short of Gross to finish runner-up.
Rounding out the top ten, Ethan Gao of Alpharetta, Georgia, Preston Stout of Richardson, Texas, and Boston Bracken of Saint George, Utah, finished T3 at 8-under-par 208. Finishing T6 were Nicolas Dominguez Alvarez of (Mexico) Wintergarden, Florida, and Bryan Kim, of Brookeville, Maryland, at 6-under-par 210. In T8 were Henry Guan of Dallas, Texas, Aaron Pounds of The Woodlands, Texas, Jay Leng Jr. of San Diego, California, Kush Arora of Pleasanton, California, Kale Fontenot of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Jake Maggert of The Woodlands, Texas, at 5-under-par 211.
The AJGA Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods is one of the longest-running events on the AJGA schedule. Originally played in 1987, the tournament settled at The Club at Carlton Woods in 2009. The event has a storied past with champions such as Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth.