hp JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP AT ABACOA
Abacoa Golf Club
July 15-18, 2002
WAIT IS OVER FOR HAGE AFTER WIN AT ABACOA
Jeon holds on to secure first AJGA victory in Boys Division
JUPITER, Fla. - Nicole Hage of Coral Springs, Fla.,
fired a final-round 2-under-par 70 Thursday to come from behind
and capture the Girls Division crown at the AJGA hp Junior
Championship at Abacoa with a 3-under-par 213 total. In the
Boys Division, Song Jeon of Ocala, Fla., cruised to a five-shot
victory after shooting a 3-under-par 69.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the hp
Junior Championship at Abacoa was held at the par-72 Abacoa
Golf Club and featured 84 of the top junior golfers in the
country, representing 16 states, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
The field also featured 59 Florida natives.
Hage, who entered the day two shots off the lead, narrowed
the gap with a birdie on No. 1 to jump into a tie for the
lead with Charmaine Erasmus of Bradenton, Fla., who opened
with a bogey.
"After the first hole we were tied again," Hage
said of her battle with Erasmus. "So I knew from there
it was anyone's to win."
Hage birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to begin to pull away from the
field and then finished strong by sticking her approach shot
close on No. 18 to set up her dream finish.
"It was nice walking down No. 18 with a five shot lead,"
said Hage, who carded four birdies on the day. "That's
how I've dreamed about winning a golf tournament. I didn't
want to win by one or two, I wanted to win by a lot and end
it by draining a putt for birdie."
Hage nailed a 12-footer on No. 18 for birdie to secure the
low round of the day in the Girls Division and seal her first
AJGA title since her 1999 Junior All-Star victory after recording
seven second-place finishes since her last win.
"The last two days I'd missed my putts for birdie on
No. 18," Hage said. "To finish with the low round
of the day is just icing on the cake."
Erasmus finished second at 219 after closing with a 78. Defending
champion Mallory Hetzel of Summerville, S.C., took third at
Jeon, who opened the tournament with rounds of 66 and 74,
tallied eight birdies for the round to help him sit at 6-under-par
for the day heading into No. 18. Jeon's tee shot on the final
hole found the hazard, forcing him to take a drop and punch
out en route to a triple bogey.
"I just tried to hit fairways and greens down the stretch,"
Jeon said. "No. 18 was my first three-putt of the week,
but I am very excited to win."
Jeon's three-day 209 put him five shots ahead of Dave Tiffenberg
of Tampa, Fla., and Brad Doster of Winter Park, Fla., who
tied for runner-up honors. Tiffernberg's 4-under-par 68 tied
for the low-final round score Robin Yoo of Bradenton, Fla.,
who tied for fourth with Gin Woong Kim of Wesely Chapel, Fla.
For more information on the AJGA hp Junior Championship at
Abacoa, please call tournament headquarters at (770) 868-4200.