SPIETH COMPLETES WIRE-TO-WIRE VICTORY AT AJGA CHAMPIONSHIP AT TRADITIONS
Thompson completes back-nine comeback for second AJGA win
BRYAN, Texas — Jordan Spieth of Dallas, finished at even-par 70-73-73 — 216 to win the AJGA Championship at Traditions, his first AJGA Open title. In the Girls Division, Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., made up two shots on the back nine to notch her second AJGA victory, winning by five shots with a 74-73-72 — 219 total.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Championship at Traditions was held at the Traditions Club at Texas A&M. The tournament field consisted of 87 boys and 51 girls, ages 12-18, from 17 states and four foreign countries. Sixty-six hailed from the home state of Texas. The Boys Division played the par-72 layout at 7,047 yards, while the Girls Division played at 6,135 yards.
Spieth's wire-to-wire victory revolved around an aggressive strategy, even with at least a four-shot lead during most of the final round. His strategy was best demonstrated on the 54th hole, when Spieth attacked the back-right hole location from behind a pod of trees, 195 yards from the flagstick. A pitch and a putt later, Spieth had secured his second AJGA victory with a par.
“I don't play as well when I play conservatively,” said Spieth, who had a four-shot lead heading into No. 18. “I've kind of given up at the end before, so it was important for me to finish strong and par the last hole.”
With the win, Spieth backed up a season-opening seventh-place finish at the Houston Boys Invitational at Redstone presented by HP and Administaff in February. Spieth's first AJGA win came at the 2007 Junior All-Star at Walnut Creek.
“I didn't expect to win (at Redstone), but the high finish gave me confidence heading into this week,” Spieth said. “Today I took a step further, and the next step is winning an Invitational.”
Cory Whitsett of Houston, posted a final-round 69, the lowest round of the tournament, to finish the event in second at 4-over-par 220. Drew Dorsey of Edmond, Okla., finished third at 8-over-par 224, and Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash., finished fourth at 9-over-par 225. Talor Gooch of Midwest City, Okla., rounded out the top five with a fifth-place finish at 10-over-par 226.
In the Girls Division, Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash., carded an even-par 36 on the front nine to extend her second-round lead to two shots as the final group made the turn. Thompson cut into the deficit with a string of pars before carding birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to build a four-shot lead heading to No. 18.
“I was hitting it close all day,” said Thompson, who also won the 2007 Aldila Junior Classic. “I birdied Nos. 16 and 17, and then (Erynne) chipped in for birdie on No. 16. At that point, I knew I had to play it safe and couldn't make any mistakes.”
Thompson's back-nine 35 carried her to a 3-over-par 219 total and the day's lowest round. A 2007 first-team Rolex All-American, Thompson also won the Westfield Junior PGA Championship in 2007.
“This win has a big impact on my game,” Thompson said. “I feel really good about my season coming up after this victory.”
Lee finished tied for second at 8-over-par 224, her fourth top-three AJGA finish. Sherlyn Popelka of Reunion, Fla., also placed tied for second, her highest AJGA finish.
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. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 AJGA Championship at Traditions, please contact National Headquarters at (877) 373-2542.