YANG WINS FIRST AJGA OPEN TOURNAMENT AT AGE 12 AT THE RAWLS COURSE AT TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY
Kwon drains 50-foot eagle putt on No. 18 to clinch victory in Boys Division
LUBBOCK, Texas — Julie Yang of Phoenix, played hard to win her first AJGA Open Tournament at the age of 12, with a 3-under-par 213 for the tournament after a playoff at the Randy Smith Classic presented by the Lubbock Sports Authority Thursday at The Rawls Course at Texas Tech University. James Kwon of Houston, won the Boys Division with a 10-under-par 206.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Randy Smith Classic presented by the Lubbock Sports Authority was a 54-hole stroke play event held at The Rawls Course at Texas Tech University. The tournament field consisted of 99 players, 75 boys and 24 girls, from nine states and Mexico. The Boys Division played the course at 7,208 yards and the Girls Division played at 6,045 yards.
Yang, who has finished third at Future Legends in Wales, Wis., and second in the Fidelity Investments Stars of Texas, is the second youngest player to win an AJGA event. In a three-way sudden-death playoff with Becca Huffer of Denver, and Kyle Roig of Pembroke Pines, Fla., Yang made birdie on the second hole to win. Yang knew anything could happen in a playoff and said she just took it shot by shot. Yang knows this is just the beginning of what she wants to accomplish with her golfing career.
“It feels pretty cool, I'm really happy with what I've done,” Yang said. “I know my parents are proud of me and I'm impressed with myself. Since I started I've always wanted to be the top LPGA player, I think it's very important to have goals and go for them.”
One day after Jeffrey Weisheit of Flower Mound, Texas, broke the men's competitive course record at The Rawls Course at Texas Tech University, fellow Texan Stephanie Smith of The Woodlands, broke the women's competive course record with a 8-under-par 64. Smith recorded a bogey-free round, firing a 6-under-par 30 on her front nine with birdies on Nos. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9. She wasn't finished yet, sticking her first shot within four feet on the 157-yard, par-3 10th hole and sinking the birdie putt. Smith would add a birdie on the par-5 17th to break the previous record by three strokes.
“I felt really good about today. I was really consistent and I putted really well,” Smith said. “I played the round and I didn't really think about how low I was scoring.”
For Smith the tournament was just the beginning, as she will be a freshman for the Red Raiders this fall and will be seeing a lot more of The Rawls Course.
The Boys Division delivered its own excitement. Kwon, knowing he was one stroke back as he came to 18, put his second shot on the 562-yard, par-5 on the green about 50 feet away. Kwon read the putt just right, knowing it would first break to the right, then come back to the left right at the hole, to sink the eagle putt, and clinch his first AJGA victory.
“I just wanted to two-putt,” Kwon said. “Just lag it in close and if it goes in great. About five feet in front of the hole, I knew it would break left. Once it got there I knew it had a good chance of going in.”
Chan Kim of Honolulu, finished in second with a 9-under-par 207. Robert Mills of Houston, finished third at 6-under 210. In a five-way tie for fourth at 4-under-par 212 were Payne Wilkie of Austin, Texas, Trent Sanders of of Scottsdale, Ariz., Jacob Simon of Oklahoma City, Okla., Zakhai Brown of Arvada, Colo., and Austin Beck of Coppell, Texas.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 countries.
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 Randy Smith Classic presented by the Lubbock Sports Authority please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.