EKEY PULLS AWAY FOR FIRST AJGA VICTORY AT FINAL JUNIOR TOURNAMENT
Yates laps Boys Division, finishes at 10-under-par to win by seven shots
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. — In her final AJGA event, Kathleen Ekey of Wadsworth, Ohio, won her first AJGA crown after firing a 2-under-par 70 to break away from a first-place tie and finish 72-71-70—213 for the tournament. Preston Yates of Winston-Salem, N.C., led wire-to-wire and also closed the deal, finishing at 10-under-par 65-71-70—206.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Richmond Junior was a 54-hole stroke-play event that featured 99 players, 78 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18 from 23 states and Canada. Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Va., home of the Virginia State Golf Association, hosted the second-year event for the first time.
Coming off a win at the Ohio Women's Amateur last week, Ekey, who carded five birdies on the day to finish at 3-under par, said she played solid golf all week to stand alone atop the Girls Division.
“Winning my final AJGA event is bittersweet,” Ekey said, who has played in 11 AJGA tournaments and will attend Furman University in the fall. “Junior golf would not be junior golf in America without the AJGA. I wouldn't be where I am today without it.”
Cydney Clanton of Concord, N.C., carded an even-par 72 to finish second at 74-70-72—216, and Yu Lee of Orlando, Fla., fell to third after shooting a tournament total of 72-71-74—217. Rebecca Durham of St. Simons Island, Ga., shot 74-76-71—221 for fourth, and Claire Sheldon of Milton, Mass., rounded out the top five at 71-78-73—222.
Also capturing his first AJGA title, Yates sealed the wire-to-wire victory with a birdie and an eagle on the back nine.
“It's hard to play with a lead when you don't know how other players are doing,” Yates said. “I knew it was mine to win or lose, and the eagle on No. 13 relaxed me because I knew I didn't have to do anything special.”
Kevin Foley of Somerville, N.J., fired the low final-round score of 6-under-par 66 to put him at 74-73-66—213 to tie for second with Wyatt Worthington II of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, at 73-72-68—213. Jay Vandeventer of Bristol, Va., finished at 72-72-70—214 for the week and shares fourth with Matt Bush of Richmond, Va., who shot 75-70-69—214.
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.
For more information on the AJGA Richmond Junior, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.