Diablo Grande, Ranch Course
Patterson, California
March 1-3, 2002

Four-Over-Par 76 Gives Illinois Native First AJGA Victory

PATTERSON, Calif. - Rob Grube of Hinsdale, Ill., followed his opening round 68 with a 4-over-par 76 to secure a victory at the AJGA Preseason Junior at Diablo Grande Sunday.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, this event featured 85 junior golfers from 13 states. The two-day, 36-hole tournament was played on the par-72 Ranch Course at Diablo Grande, one of Northern California's premier golf courses.

The Preseason Junior at Diablo Grande is one of eight events in the AJGA Preseason/Postseason Series, a boys-only series, designed to provide playing opportunities to juniors who have not yet played in an AJGA tournament.

Grube came to the first tee Sunday with a one-stroke lead over Christopher Hirahatake of Tustin, Calif., and four in front of Ryan Thornberry of Ceres, Calif., and Kevin Chappell of Fresno, Calif., both at even par.

"I actually enjoyed being the one everyone was gunning for," Grube said after his round. "I had all last night to think about it, and I knew that if I took it one shot at a time that they would have to catch me."

Grube went out in 1-over-par 37 fashion, with eight pars and one bogey coming on the par-4 ninth. Making the turn at 3-under-par for the tournament, he "chopped it around" on the back side for a 3-over-par 39, making him even-par for the tournament. His 144 tournament total was just enough to give him the win over Thornberry who fired a final-round 73 for a 145 tournament total.

"It was really tough out there - a lot harder than I anticipated," Grube said, who now has three national tournament victories. "I had just enough today. I would have liked to have gone a bit deeper, but I did what it takes and I got the win."

Grube's victory at Diablo Grande gave him his first AJGA victory and three well-earned exemptions into AJGA Open events.

"This is going to open up even more doors for me," Grube said. "I'm relieved to have at least three chances to show my game against the best players around."

The top-15 finishers in the event received one automatic entry into an AJGA Open event, while those who finished in the top five picked up two automatic entries.

Thornberry's 145 left him alone in second. Chappell followed at 147. Hirahatake and Grant Kester of Santa Cruz, Calif., at 149, round out the top-five finishers.

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