Magnolia Grove Golf Club, Falls and Crossings Courses
Mobile, Alabama
August 29-September 2, 2002

Leon erases four-stroke, final-round deficit to win Boys Division

MOBILE, Ala. - Paula Creamer of Pleasanton, Calif., stormed out of the gates early with four birdies on the front nine in the final round of the AJGA Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior Classic and preserved the win with smart, conservative play to end the tournament. In the Boys Division, Tyler Leon of Dallas carded a final round 4-under-par 68 to come from four strokes back and earn his second career AJGA title.

The 54-hole tournament, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, featured 165 players representing 24 states, Mexico and Singapore. Fifteen participants hail from Alabama. The event was held at the par-72 Magnolia Grove Golf Club, Falls and Crossings Courses. Past champions include PGA TOUR players Ty Tryon (2000) and David Gossett (1994) and LPGA tour player Beth Bauer (1995 and 1996).

Creamer, who improved her score each round, won her last two AJGA events and said it was key to end the summer on a high note.

"At the end of the year you have to have a lot of energy to get through the summer," Creamer said. "I have been on the road for a long time so it is good to end on a win."

The high school sophomore entered the final round with a three-stroke lead, but instead of starting conservative she stuck with her aggressive style and built her lead to seven with nine holes to play. She birdied the first hole and from there the ball just rolled the 16-year-old's way.

"That birdie started it all off. I picked up a lot of momentum from there," Creamer said. "I knew I was in good shape after nine holes. On the back side I wanted to stay out of trouble and keep it in the fairway. I made a few mental mistakes, but my short game helped me through it."

Creamer (73-70-69-212) ended a phenomenal year with her seventh career AJGA title, but the young prodigy does not dwell on success for long as she is already locking in on next year.

"I worked hard on my game all year," Creamer said. "The competition keeps getting better and better, so I am very pleased with my summer. Hopefully next year will be just as good."

Jennifer Pandolfi of Navarre, Fla., and Brittany Lincicome of Seminole, Fla., locked up second place honors with three-day totals of 218.

In the Boys Division, Leon put together his first complete round of the tournament to snare the title after starting the day four-strokes back. Leon, who started in the second to last group of the day, had no doubt he would be able to make a rally if he had his complete game working.

"I have been playing well lately, but the first two days I could not get a putt to fall," Leon said. "Today when I had birdie opportunities I made them. Everything started clicking today."

Leon (72-74-68-214) played his first three holes at 1-over-par and then turned the heat on with four-consecutive birdies. The fun began with a 20-foot chip on No. 4 that fell for birdie and did not end until No. 8 where the 18-year-old parred the 443-yard, par-4.

"The whole game is about momentum and when you do something like that it just builds your momentum and helps you to keep making good shots and putts," Leon said.

Leon's tournament clinching birdie was on No. 15. He knocked his 8-iron from 155 yards to six feet and then drained the putt. That birdie proved to be the difference maker as Robert Gates, Jr. of Gainesville, Fla., birdied No. 17 to get within one, but could not get any closer.

Gates finished alone in second at 215 with first-round leader Christopher Anderson of Lake Mary, Fla., earning third place with a total of 216. Warren Thomas, III of Columbia S.C., placed fourth at 217 and Will Osborne of Wichita Falls, Texas rounded out the top five at 219.

For more information on the AJGA Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior Classic please contact AJGA national headquarters at (877) 373-2542

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