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Jason Allred, 17, of Ashland, Ore., withstood an eleventh-hour comeback by Trevor Immelman, 17, of Cape Town, South Africa, to win the 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, 1 up, at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.

Neither player made a birdie in the championship match until the 15th hole, when Allred sank a chip shot from 30 yards to take a 2-up advantage over Immelman. But Immelman was not ready to surrender."

I relaxed after making that chip shot on 15," said Allred. "But I learned that you can't do that against a player like Trevor."

After he pushed his drive on the 16th hole to the right of the fairway, Immelman hit a second-shot driver from the rough to five yards short of the green. He won the hole with an up-and-down birdie, and after sinking a 10-foot birdie putt on 17, he squared the match.But Immelman's comeback proved too little too late. A two-putt par on 18 gave Allred his first national title.

"Trevor showed everyone what kind of golfer he is with the birdies at 16 and 17, which was just awesome under those circumstances," said Allred, the only player in the field to have competed in this championship in each of the last four years. "I never thought I'd get nervous, but I did walking up the 18th hole. Winning in front of that many people was such an unexplainable feeling."

Allred advanced to the championship match after defeating Chris Zeller of Boca Raton, Fla., 5 and 4. Immelman won his morning match by the same margin over Sean O'Hair of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Several notable players competed in the 50th U.S. Junior Amateur. Todd Miller, 17, of Napa, Calif., son of Senior PGA Tour player Johnny Miller, advanced to the first round of match play, and Andreas Huber, 17, of Garden City, N.Y., son of daytime soap opera actress Susan Lucci, advanced to the quarterfinal round before being eliminated.

The USGA accepted a record 4,012 entries for the 1997 championship, beating the previous record of 3,498 set in 1996. A record number of entries has been accepted for this championship every year since 1993. In that time, entries have increased 59.52 percent.

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