Golden Bear Golf Club at Indigo Run
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
June 25-28, 2002

Champions claim first AJGA tournament victories

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -Ryan Hillstrom of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., fired a final-round 2-under-par 70 Friday for a come-from-behind victory in the AJGA Hargray Junior Classic. Theresa Paik of Silver Springs, Md., carried a one-stroke lead into the final round and held on to claim the Girls Division.

The Hargray Junior Classic, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, featured 84 players, including boys and girls representing 17 states. Seventeen players hailed from the state of South Carolina.

Hillstrom (71-72-70-213) had a strong front nine, hitting the first eight greens. On No. 5, the 17-year-old carded his first birdie after hitting the flagstick with a pitching wedge from 135 yards out, putting him within two feet of the hole. Hillstrom had a one-stroke lead until a three-putt bogey on No. 9 dropped him one behind Robin Yoo, of Bradenton, Fla.

On the back, Hillstrom made par on the first four holes before making his move on Yoo, the leader at the time. Hillstrom sunk a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3, 163-yard 14th to move to one stroke off the lead. Yoo bogeyed No. 17, while Hillstrom ran in a 10-foot birdie putt to take the lead. Hillstrom made par on the final hole to seal his first AJGA victory.

"It's nice to get my first national win," Hillstrom said. "I have been in the final group a few times before, but I have never been able to hold on and win. It felt good to get the lead and not give up any strokes and win."

Brian Harman of Savannah, Ga., fired the low round of the day, a 4-under-par 68, to finish in a tie for second with Yoo at 214. Zack Siefert of Simpsonville, S.C., finished fourth with a 1-under-par 215 for the tournament, and Steven Bain of Orlando, Fla., shot even-par 216 for fifth place.

In the Girls Division, Paik (76-68-71-215) started the day with an even-par 36 on the front nine. Paik missed several greens, but got up and down to save par each time. Paik found trouble off the tee on No. 10 and went on to make her only bogey of the day; however, she followed it up with five straight pars.

On the par-4, 338-yard 16th, Paik's drive found the rough to the right, but she made birdie after sticking her second shot to within four feet of the flagstick. After a birdie on No. 17, Paik reached No. 18 in regulation and had a two-putt for par and her first AJGA victory.

"I was nervous this morning and I didn't hit many greens on the front, but I got up and down to save par a lot," Paik said. "I felt alright going into the back. I was just sitting back and waiting for some birdies. I feel great, getting this first win will really help my confidence."

Christie Reed (75-73-70-218) and Nicole Hage (75-71-73-219), both of Coral Springs, Fla., finished second and third, respectively.

For more information on the AJGA Hargray Junior Classic or other AJGA events, contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.


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