The Coast News Group
Karen Tsuru, left, of Carlsbad and Ethan Chung of Murrieta were winners at the 2019 Toyota Tour Cup Championship in La Quinta. Courtesy photo

Carlsbad teen golfer wins Toyota Tour Cup

REGION — Karen Tsuru of Carlsbad, and Ethan Chung of Murrieta, needed heroic shots on the toughest finishing holes in golf to claim the 2019 Toyota Tour Cup Championship at PGA West’s Stadium Course.

Tsuru started the day two strokes off the lead but battled hard and remained patient all day to stay within striking range. Trailing Madison Le of Garden Grove, Tsuru needed an epic comeback in order to pull off the win. She rose to the challenge, trading birdies down the stretch with Le, gaining two strokes down the stretch. Coming down to the final hole of regulation all square, Tsuru dropped a 30-foot par putt on her last hole to force a playoff.

Tsuru and Le headed back to the 18th hole for their playoff to determine a winner. Le missed the green on her approach shot while Tsuru stuffed her wedge shot to 6 feet, then nailed her birdie putt to win her seventh Toyota Tour Cup title of the 2019 season.

Chung, a University of Southern California commit, started the final round in the lead after an opening-round five-under-par, 67. Unlike his first round, Chung struggled to convert birdies where he needed to in order to pull away from the pack. He was able to limit his mistakes, however, in order to cling onto a one-stroke lead.

Heading into the final hole of regulation, Chung dunked his approach shot on the famed 18th hole resulting in a three-way tie for first. Chung, Kyle An of Aliso Viejo, and Calder Overfelt of Newport Beach needed extra holes on the water-lined par-4 18th to determine a champion.

Chung and An headed back to the 18th tee in hopes of ending the firm deadlock. An hit a wayward approach shot into the water but proceeded to get up-and-down for a bogey. Chung’s approach shot ended up in back right in the rough. His chip landed 11 feet from the cup, but confidently drained the par putt to win the Championship.

The Southern California PGA Junior Tour, established in 1948, is one of the largest and most respected junior golf programs in the country.