FRANCIS AND CHOE WIN THREE-HOLE PLAYOFF AT ARIZONA NATIONAL
Jones, Barton force final-round playoff at 15-under-par
TUCSON, Ariz.- Philip Francis and Esther Choe, both of Scottsdale, Ariz., outlasted Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, and Lila Barton of Dallas, to win a three-hole playoff for the championship of the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk was a 54-hole stroke play team event held at Arizona National in Tucson, Ariz. The par-71 course was set up at 6660 yards for the boys and 5951 for the girls. The tournament field consisted of 36 teams, comprised of one boy and one girl, representing six states and Canada, including 18 Rolex Junior All-Americans.
The event employed three scoring formats over two days. On Saturday, the first 18 holes were played as a modified Scotch, and the second round was foursomes. The final round was a four-ball competition played on Sunday.
Both teams carded three-day totals of 15-under-par 198, sending the event into a playoff. Matching scores on hole No. 18 twice, the teams each ascended the 513-yard par-5 for a third and final time. Francis, Choe and Jones all hit the fairway on their tee shots, and Barton's drive found the right bunker. Choe placed her ball in the landing area of the green while Barton popped out of the bunker into the fairway, then landed her third shot on the green.
Jones hit his 150-yard second shot across the lateral water, but the ball spun back into the hazard. Francis placed his second shot 18 feet from the hole, while teammate Choe chipped her third shot within eight feet. Barton and Choe each took fives on the hole, forcing the boys into a head-to-head match-up for the championship. After adding a hazard stroke, Jones chipped within two feet, but Francis placed his putt six inches from the hole to win the event.
“I was really pumped when Josh (Jones) made the putt on 18 to go into a playoff,” said Choe. “I knew the playoff would be between Josh and Philip and they put on a great show. Philip just kept sticking it on the green and he pulled out the win.”
“I had a feeling Josh was going to make that putt on 18,” said Francis. “I like playoffs because they feel more like match play and there is a lot more pressure involved. I played well today and I stayed patient during the playoff to win.”
Francis and Choe shot 64-73-61—198 over three days while Jones and Barton played all three rounds in the 60s, at 69-65-64. Second-round co-leader Jamie Lovemark of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and Sydnee Michaels of Temecula, Calif., shot a final-round 66 to end the tournament in third at 200. The brother-sister combination of Darren and Jessica Wallace of Langley, British Columbia, were fourth at 202, after rounds of 66-71-65. Another sibling team of Austyn and Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., tied for fifth with Brian Kim of Yorba Linda, Calif., and Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif., at 203.
The team of Nicholas Mullhaupt and Zahra Shah, both of Bradenton, Fla., shot the low round of the tournament with a 60 during Sunday's four-ball format. The pair finished the event at 208 (70-78-60) in a three-way tie for eighth.
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 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 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 Paula Creamer.
For more information about the I.R.I. Arizona National Mixed Team Championship hosted by Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk, please call national headquarters at (877) 373-2542.
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