By Ryan Horton
Choctaw’s Preston Albee won his first American Junior Golf Association tournament last week.
Albee overcame early adversity rallying for a come-from-behind victory in the July 24-27 tourney.
He was down five strokes after day one, and two strokes after day two. However, he came from behind the last day to tie and then go to a three-hole playoff with Parker Stands at the Talor Gooch Foundation Junior Championship by 3Bird Kids Foundation, Inc. at Gaillardia Country Club.
In what could be a preview of the 2024 Class 6A state title, Choctaw’s junior defeated Edmond North High School’s senior who had led the first two days of action.
The Yellowjacket seems to thrive under pressure, and didn’t hesitate to sting the Florida commit in the playoff.
“I love playoffs,” said Albee. “I love the pressure.”
The pair finished six shots ahead of Stillwater’s Grant Gudgel and Chase Hughes, of Oklahoma City, who tied for third place.
Albee posted three straight under-par rounds, secured low final round honors a four-under 68, recorded 18 birdies on his way to finish 10-under-par (206) claiming his first AJGA victory.
“I know in golf, anything is possible, so I just keep fighting,” Albee said. “I get a little nervous before I hit my shots, but once I’m locked in over my ball, I don’t really feel anything, and I think that gives me an advantage over a lot of people and allows me to stay confident.”
Talor Gooch, a former Carl Albert High School and Oklahoma State University standout, who’s won three times this year on the LIV Tour, presented the championship trophy to Albee.
“It was cool to hand (Albee) his first trophy,” said Gooch, who won his first AGJA tournament at nearby Oak Tree Country Club.