WILLIS COMES FROM BEHIND TO WIN OAKRIDGE TITLE
Kline claims Girls Division crown at first-ever AJGA event
GARLAND, Texas — Beau Willis of Weatherford, Texas, and John Mark Goings of Cabot, Ark., battled it out on No.18 for a story-book finish at Oakridge Country Club. MacKinzie Kline of Encinitas, Calif., captured the lead and the crown from first-round leader Christine Cho of La Crescenta, Calif., with a final round of 5-over-par 76.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Ashworth Junior at Oakridge was a 36-hole stroke play event featured junior golfers from 17 states, including 32 from the state of Texas. The AJGA's Ashworth Junior Series is specifically designed for first-time AJGA members or those who have not yet participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series event in the current calendar year.
Both Goings and Willis entered the final hole of the event tied for the overall lead. Goings, who held a three-stroke lead after the first-round, hit his tee shot on No. 18 into the water hazard and left Willis an opening. Willis was able to navigate through the windy conditions at Oakridge Country Club and his par on the final hole earned him medalist honors.
“I tried not to pay attention to him throughout the round as I just wanted to concentrate on one shot at a time,” the 17-year-old said. “I kept it in play all day and did not get into any trouble either,” Willis added.
Willis, a home schooled junior, headed into the final round with one expectation; to bring home the crown. He did more than just that; he earned two tournament exemptions for the upcoming season.
“I am excited that I will be able to play in more AJGA events this summer,” Willis said. “I am happy that I proved myself and will have the opportunity to keep competing at this level.”
Goings finished second two shots back ,while Neal Robinson of Dallas finished at 155 for third place. Tied in fourth place at 157 were Justin Aragon of Las Vegas, N.M., and David Godvin of Dallas.
Like Willis, Kline had a steady and problem-free round that enabled her to garner her first AJGA win in the Girls Division.
“I knew if I could hit more greens today than I did yesterday, I would be able to be in contention for the title,” Kline said. “My driver and irons worked for me today which really boosted my confidence.”
The 13-year-old made the turn at even-par and fired a birdie on the 370-yard par-4 10th hole that kept her steady and focused throughout the home stretch.
Cho at 158 and Kyndall Ardoin of Gibsland, La., at 160 rounded out the Girls Division.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.