'Feeling very proud': Junior National Golf Championships at PGA National

'I had a few birdies that were clutch at the moment. That's all I need,' Cooper Franklin says
Posted at 7:34 PM, May 27, 2024

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Some of the country's top amateur golfers spent Memorial Day weekend at PGA National for the Florida State Golf Association Junior Golf Tour.

The annual tournament holds its Junior Golf Tour, where top amateurs nationwide meet to showcase their skills.

The tournament drew in dozens of the top amateur golfers from across the country was graced by the presence of golf legend Tiger Woods on Monday morning, who was there to support his son's golfing endeavors.

Despite Woods' son's presence on the greens, PGA National was taken by surprise by the triumph of an 11-year-old girl, who outplayed a field of teenagers, and a 15-year-old boy, who emerged from the bottom rankings to claim his championship.

On day three of the Florida State Golf Association tournament, an 11-year-old girl competed against several nationally ranked-teens.

"At the beginning of the round, my putting stroke was better," said Orlando native Iris Lee, who shot a 69 on Sunday to secure a top spot entering the championship rounds, was well aware of the uphill battle she was about to face on Monday.

"I hit three birdie shots in a row, and I started getting the feeling of it, and then the back nine, my second shot, my approach shot kept going left. I tried to fix that and have better ship shots," Lee said.

Lee's determination and resilience helped her become one of the event's youngest winners ever, as she finished the tournament five under.

"I'm feeling very proud and feel like my hardwork paid off a lot," Lee said.

On the boys' side, Maxwell Morgan was penciled in to win everything.

He came into the championship one under par, but late in the match, a dark horse would make things interesting.

"It was a weird week. I didn't strike the ball great, but every day, I just kind of stayed in it and kind of scrambled," said Cooper Franklin, a 15-year-old amateur golfer.

The teen came into the event with an almost guarantee of locking a third-place finish, but thanks to several birdies and a last-minute bogey from Morgan, Franklin pulled off the upset of the day.

"I'm good friends with Maxwell, and I knew he was going to play steady golf, and I knew I was going to have to make birdies to beat him," said Franklin. "I had a few birdies that were clutch at the moment. That's all I need."

Now, with golf bags and championship trophies secured, the newly crowned champs are setting their celebration efforts.

"We're probably going to Key West for a vacation to relax," Lee said.

"Next week is AGG in South Carolina," Franklin said.