Josiah Hakala of New Ipswich wins national invitational golf championship

Published: 07-05-2024 4:02 PM

Josiah Hakala of New Ipswich has won state titles both as an individual and as part of the Mascenic High School golf team, and now he can add another accolade to his list – 2024 PGA Boys High School Golf National Invitational champion.

Hakala shot a third-round 65 Wednesday to rally from a tie for fourth to win the tournament in Frisco, Texas, which drew more than 300 golfers from around the country.

Following rounds of 68 and 69, Hakala’s third-round score gave him a tournament record 14-under-par 202 and a one-shot victory of Davis Hartwell of Oregon, with whom he had been tied after first two rounds. The previous record was 10 under par, set by Anawin Pikulthong of Arizona in 2020 and tied by Jake Albert of Virginia in 2022.

At Mascenic, Hakala won individual state Division IV championships in 2022 and 2023, winning the latter title by 23 strokes. He also led Mascenic to the 2023 Division IV team title, carding a 64 as the team shot 306, the lowest team score in Division IV history.

Hakala attributed his success at the national tournament to his faith and preparation. 

“I attribute it all to first and foremost my Savior Jesus Christ, because without him I wouldn’t be here,” stated Hakala. “I put countless hours into my game and on the practice area just preparing for tournaments like this and it's really nice to see it pay off for sure.”

On Wednesday, Hakala eagled the par-5, 570-yard first hole at WestRidge Golf Course, then solidified his lead by chipping in for a second eagle on the par-5 6th hole. 

“I played really, really solidly the first two days, honestly, my best round of the week was probably day two on (Fields Ranch) East," stated Hakala. “Today, it was just kind of my day and I played really well, got some putts to fall.”

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With the victory, Hakala will receive exemptions into the 2024 Junior PGA Championships at Congressional Country Club and the 2025 North & South Junior Championship at Pinehurst Resort.