JANDEL LEADS WIRE-TO-WIRE TO CLINCH FIRST AJGA VICTORY
Katahira birdies third playoff hole to win Girls Division
DUBLIN, Ohio — Sam Jandel of Dayton, Ohio claimed his first AJGA victory with an 11-under-par 67-66-72 — 205 total Thursday at the Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament. Mitsuki Katahira of Wheaton, Ill., birdied the third hole of a three-player playoff to win the Girls Division with a 4-over-par 77-71-72 — 220 total.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament was a 54-hole stroke-play event held at The Country Club at Muirfield Village. The 98-player field featured players from 19 states and Canada. The Boys Division played the event at 6,812 yards, while the Girls Division played at 6,084 yards.
Entering the final round with a five-shot lead, Jandel opened the day with birdies on Nos. 1 and 4. Jandel carded a bogey-free 34 on the front nine and maintained his five-shot lead as he made the turn. Jandel said he felt no pressure coming down the stretch.
“The birdie on No. 1 gave me confidence, just knowing that I had the mindset to play today,” Jandel said. “This has been a big summer and I needed to make some noise, so I'm happy to close it out and win.”
Alex Lyall of Novi, Mich., Ryan Mason of Bridgeport, W. Va., and Adam Sumrall of South Bend, Ind., tied for second at 7-under-par 209, while Aaron Siekmann of Dublin, Ohio and Ethan Tracy of Hilliard, Ohio tied for fifth at 6-under-par 210.
In the Girls Division, Katahira used an aggressive approach shot on No. 18 to seal her first playoff victory in three tries. After playing to the center of the green for a safe par on the second playoff hole, Katahira decided to attack the front-left hole location guarded by water.
“I didn't aim straight for the pin the first time, but I needed to make birdie,” Katahira said of her decision the second time the playoff went to No. 18.
Louisa Shu of West Bloomfield, Mich., nearly drained a 40-foot birdie of her own on No. 18, but after her attempt slid by the hole, Katahira curled her eight-foot birdie putt inside the right edge for her third AJGA victory. Samantha Swinehart of Lancaster, Ohio also finished at 4-over-par 220 and tied for second with Shu.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 25 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information about the Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament, please contact National Headquarters (770) 868-4200.