DEHUFF WINS BOYS DIVISION BY ONE STROKE IN KANSAS CITY
Chawalitmetha shoots 69 for first AJGA victory
Mission Hills, Kan. – Bo DeHuff of Coto de Caza, Calif., carded a final round 72 for a tournament total of 3-over-par 213 to win the Boys Division title by one stroke at the Lockton Kansas City Junior on Thursday. Patty Chawalitmetha of Bellflower, Calif., captured the Girls Division crown with a final round 1-under-par 69 for a tournament total of 4-over-par 214.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Lockton Kansas City Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event was held at the Kansas City Country Club. The tournament featured 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 19 states.
DeHuff, 17, who began the final round tied for the lead, knew in order to stay in contention on the narrow course he would have to keep the ball straight and hit fairways. DeHuff was able to execute his strategy, hitting 11 fairways, the most he hit all week. DeHuff was also pleased with his short game, which helped him save par on the par-3 14th. He hit his tee shot in a greenside bunker, then his next shot just over the green. He chipped in from 15 feet for par.
“The par on No. 14 was key because I knew at that point I was down by one stroke,” DeHuff said. “After that I just tried to swing freely and not hold back any shots on the final holes.”
DeHuff also carded pars on the difficult hole Nos. 15 and 16. After a bogey on No. 17, DeHuff had to make par on the 18th hole to avoid a playoff. He hit his approach shot 20 feet from the flagstick and two-putted for the win. It is DeHuff’s first AJGA victory.
Ross Menke of Sioux Falls, S.D., took sole possession of second place with a final round 70 for a tournament total 214. Scott Langley of Ballwin, Mo., and Sihwan Kim of Fullerton, Calif., who fired a Boys Division tournament-low round of 65, tied for third place with three-day totals of 216. Ryan Williams of Scottsdale, Ariz., and William Kropp of Edmond, Okla., finished in a tie for fifth with tournament totals of 217.
“It feels unbelievable,” DeHuff said. “You always want to get that first win. It feels very exciting and rewarding.”
Chawalitmetha entered the final round in a three-way tie for first place. Although nervous at the start of the day, the 16-year-old grew more comfortable as she played the front nine, carding birdies on hole No. 4 and both the par-5 Nos. 7 and 8.
“I just tried to play one shot at a time and tried to take it easy,” Chawalitmetha said. “I wanted to give myself opportunities to make my score as low as possible.”
Chawalitmetha had difficulty keeping that momentum going on the back nine, where she fought to make up-and-downs on nearly every hole. On the par-4 11th hole, Chawalitmetha put her approach shot in the bunker but was able to get out from a difficult lie to save par. Chawalitmetha credited her short game for allowing her to maintain her low score through the back side. She felt particularly confident with her putting, and needed only 26 putts throughout her round.
The win is Chawalitmetha’s first AJGA victory. Emily Mason of Highland, Calif., finished in second place with a final round 72 and a tournament total 217. Ashley Freeman of Belleville, Ill., fired a Girls Division tournament-low round of 68 to finish in third place with a three-day total of 219.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(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 AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, 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 about the Lockton Kansas City Junior, contact national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.