Abilene Country Club
Abilene, Texas
Aug. 5-8, 2002

Spedding wins Girls Division on first playoff hole

ABILENE, Texas - It took Jeremy Frye of Palestine, Texas three days to rewrite 25 years of AJGA history. The 17-year-old set a 54-hole tournament record after rounds of 66-64-64--194 left him at 19-under-par at the Abilene Reporter-News Junior. The previous record was 17-under-par set by Plano, Texas native Jeff Bell at the same tournament in 2000. In the Girls Division, Christa Spedding of Granbury, Texas, won the Girls Division on the first playoff hole after dropping a 20-foot birdie putt.

The 54-hole tournament, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, featured 120 players representing 12 states and included 101 Texas natives. It was held at the par-71 Abilene Country Club. Past champions of the event include PGA TOUR players Scott Verplank (1981, '82), Phil Mickelson (1987) and LPGA Tour players Kelli Kuehne (1992, '93) and Emilee Klein (1990).

After finishing the first round in a tie for fourth, Frye built a two-stroke lead after the second day and then raced to his second-career AJGA title, winning by five strokes. Before this week Frye, who hit every green in regulation, had never played Abilene Country Club. He took no time at all in warming up to the course's short length and reachable par 5s. His worst round during the three days was a hearty first-round, 5-under-par 66. During the three days Frye had only one bogey and one double bogey as he etched his name in the AJGA record books.

"It is nice to know I have a record in the AJGA with there being so many great players that have played in the AJGA," Frye said. "I knew what the record was and on No. 13 I added up my score and realized I was tied with it. I made two more birdies and it feels pretty good."
AJGA alumni include PGA TOUR players Tiger Woods, David Duval, Justin Leonard, Charlie Howell, David Gossett and a plethora of other tour players.

On No. 18, Frye left himself with a three-foot putt for par and said that was the first time he felt butterflies in his stomach.

"I wasn't that nervous because I didn't have many hard putts," Frye said. "On No. 18 I got a little shaky after I left myself with that par putt."

Even if Frye had bogeyed the last hole he still would have secured the scoring record.
"Only by one though," Frye smiled. "I wanted this."

Frye was tested at the beginning of his final round, by Jeff Gerlich of Austin, but eventually pulled away and then coasted to the title on the back nine. The two were tied at 15-under before Frye birdied four of the first six holes on the back side.

"Jeremy played great," Gerlich said. "I had five or six putts on the back nine that just didn't go and he was able to make his."

Frye's strength during the week was his ability to score on the friendly par 5s. He played them 13-under for the tournament and birdied all four during the final round.

"I was putting for eagle on all of them," Frye said. "They were pretty easy out here. I had tap-in birdie putts on all of them except for No. 5."

After a final round of 67, Gerlich finished in second with a three-day total of 199. Martin Piller of Duncanville, Texas finished third at 203 and Chad Follett of El Paso, Texas notched fourth place with at 205. Matt Van Zandt of Missouri City, Texas, Blake Parks of Odessa, Texas and Zac Reynolds of Edmond, Okla., tied for fifth with 206s.

In the Girls Division, Spedding erased a seven-stroke, final-round deficit to force a sudden-death playoff with Heather Wright of Houston and Caney Hines of San Antonio. On the first-playoff hole, the par-3 tenth, Spedding left her 7-iron 20 feet from the hole and then drained the lengthy putt to claim the title.

"I just wanted to finish in the top three," Spedding said. "I thought I was going to have to shoot a 67 or 68 to go to a playoff. When somebody told me I was in I didn't believe them, but I am happy to win.

For more information regarding the Abilene Reporter-News Junior, please contact our national headquarters at (877) 373-2542.

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