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Sterling Finish Spurs Oregon’s Foushee

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Southern Cal romps to team championship; Sun Country 11th

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson,

Fred Couples and Peter Jacobsen.

Zach Foushee, Wilson Bateman, Brian Jung, Kevin Kwon, Xander Schauffele, Byron Meth and Devon Purser.

Don’t know the latter group? Don’t worry, chances are you will.

Probably sooner rather than later.

That latter seven, after all, did something very similar to Woods, Mickelson, Couples and Jacobsen — to name just a few. They excelled at one of the world’s biggest junior golf events.

On Thursday, Foushee, of West Linn, Ore., captured the individual title of the 38th annual Junior America’s Cup at par-71 Isleta Eagle Golf Club. The high school junior-to-be closed with a 5-under 66 and finished the 54-hole event at 9-under 204, edging Jung (British Columbia) and Bateman (Alberta) by one shot. Purser (Utah) shot a course-record-tying 64 — something Jung did in Tuesday’s opening round — to tie Schauffele (Southern California), Meth (San Diego) and Kwon (British Columbia) for fourth at 7 under.

Southern California ran away with the team title while Alberta and British Columbia tied for second, 13 shots back.

The event for boys 17-and-younger featured teams from western United States, Canada and Mexico. It was last held in Albuquerque in 1993.

Four players make up each team with the top three individual scores toward each day’s team total.

“To hear the names of the great players who played in this, it’s really an honor to have won,” said Foushee, 16. “When I finished my round, I didn’t think I had a chance to win. I thought the leader would go a lot lower.”

That would be Jung, who led after the first two rounds and didn’t tee off for nearly an hour after Foushee did. But Jung could muster only a 71 and fell one shot short.

“I didn’t feel any extra pressure when I started the day,” said Jung, a 17-year-old from Coquitlam. “But as the day got longer, I felt more and more pressure. I just lipped out too many putts.”

Had Jung not 3-putted on No. 16, or had he made makeable birdie putts on 17 or 18, he would have tied for the title. Bateman, too, is surely wondering about one swing or putt that cost him a share of the title as well.

And share is the key word. The prestigious tournament, which has proved to be a springboard for some of today’s hottest PGA Tour stars,  does not have individual playoffs.

“I knew I had to make that putt on 18 to tie,” Jung said. “I just didn’t hit my putt on 18 hard enough. I got a little chicken.”

Southern Cal was led by Schauffele, who had a 5-under 30 on his front nine (Lakes Course) on Thursday but was at just par on the back side for a 66. Teammate Jonathan Sanders had a 208 while Matthew Negri was at 208 and J.J. Holen at 210.

The host Sun Country Golf Association (New Mexico and El Paso) finished 11th in the 17-team event with a score of 649, 31 shots behind the winner.

The Sun Country team was James Lee and Simon Miller of Albuquerque Academy, Santa Fe’s Marty Sanchez and El Paso’s Jere Pelletier.

Pelletier and Lee each shot 71 on Thursday, while Sanchez and Miller had 73s.

As far as individual honors, Miller and Lee each shot 216 to tie for 21st.  Pelletier had a 219 to finish 36th.

Sanchez shot a 75 in Tuesday’s opening round, but his score was disqualified because of an obscenity he shouted during play. He had a 73 on Wednesday, but wasn’t eligible in the individual competition because of the earlier DQ.