Kushner and Smith Battle to Earn Co-Medalist Honors at Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation
Compton fires low front nine to take top honors in Girls Division
SOUTHPORT, N.C. — Brantley Kushner of Leesburg, Va., and Trey Smith of Virginia Beach, Va., were locked in a lengthy battle that ended in a tie with both players carding an even-par 144. Devon Compton of Rochester, Mich., used a 2-under-par front nine 34 to earn medalist honors in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, The Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation was a 36-hole stroke play event held at St. James Plantation — The Members Club Course. The 93-player field featured players from 19 states. The Boys Division played St. James Plantation — The Members Club Course at 6,704 yards, while the Girls Division played at 5,764 yards.
Kushner and Smith went back and forth on the back nine and exchanged the lead several times. After one made a long putt, the other immediately answered back.
“We both played well today,” Smith said. “He started making putts on the front nine and had me getting a little worried.”
The momentum continued to shift from one player to the other throughout the final round.
“We each had our turn,” Kushner said. “There was a stretch of about six holes each where one of us just could not miss a putt.”
Playing side by side in the same group, the battle continued on each hole.
“We seemed to hit the ball in the same spots on every hole,” Kushner said.
Both were playing in their first AJGA event and were excited about getting the win.
“It's pretty cool to be able to say that I have won an AJGA event,” Smith said. “It really means a lot to me.”
Another competitor that made a run in the final round was Minchung Kim of Cary, N.C., who finished third with a 3-over-par 147. In fourth was David Sullivan of Woodstock, Ga., with 4-over-par 148. Blake Kennedy of Moore, S.C., Jordan Smith of Murray, Ky., and Robert Zieser of Myrtle Beach, S.C., finished in a three-way tie for fifth at 7-over-par 151.
Beginning her round on No. 10, Compton was able to bounce back from a back-nine 44 to finish with a final-round 78 and earn top honors. Playing in her second AJGA event, she feels more comfortable with tournament play and attributes the experience to her low front nine.
“When you get comfortable with the competition, it makes things easier and takes a little pressure off of you,” Compton said.
Samantha Buchanan of Bluffton, S.C., finished second at 19-over-par 163. In third was Kensington Wieland of Loudon, Tenn., with a 21-over-par 165.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
For more information about the Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation, please contact AJGA National Headquarters (770) 868-4200.