KORDA OVERCOMES FOUR-STROKE DEFICIT, WINS MCDONALD'S BETSY RAWLS GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP
Lee finishes with final round even-par 71 at White Manor Country Club
MALVERN, Pa. — The McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship went down to the wire Thursday when Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla., birdied the par-4, No. 18 to cement a one-stroke victory over first-and-second-round leader Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., at White Manor Country Club.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship was a 54-hole stroke play event held at White Manor Country Club. The 78-player field featured players from 14 states, Argentina, Colombia and Canada. The Girls Division played the course at 6,186 yards.
Korda, who is currently ranked 29th in the Polo Golf Rankings, began the final round four strokes behind Lee. She recorded four birdies throughout the day en route to a tournament total of 1-under-par 212. Korda maintained a relaxed and jovial disposition throughout the round, laughing and joking with her fellow competitors through all 18 holes.
“Having fun was the most important part of the day for me,” the fifteen-year-old said. “My dad told me to be relaxed, have fun, and most importantly not put too much pressure on myself.”
While Korda said she felt the pressure of competition throughout the event, she didn't let it weigh her down. Even when she sat five strokes behind Lee after a bogey on No. 3, Korda maintained her composure, gaining two strokes on Lee over the next six holes. It was on the back nine, however, that Korda shined, outscoring Lee by four strokes to come away with her first AJGA championship.
“[Lee] is such a good competitor,” Korda said. “I knew I had to make that birdie putt to win on No. 18 or we would go to a playoff.”
A playoff was not in the cards after Korda drained an eight-foot putt to claim the title.
Lee, 13, ended the event alone in second with a tournament total of even-par 213. A double bogey on No. 9 followed by bogeys on Nos. 10, 13, and 14 allowed Korda to capitalize and pull even after No. 14. Lee led after both the first and second rounds, securing her spot in the leader girls group. She began the final round in a consistent fashion, recording pars on the first six holes. She carded two birdies on the day, including one on No. 17 to remain even with Korda.
Finishing third, five strokes behind Korda was Ginger Howard of Bradenton, Fla., with a tournament total of 4-over-par 217. In a tie for fourth were Brittany Altomare of Shrewsbury, Mass., and Courtney Gunter of Matthews, N.C., each with a tournament total of 5-over-par 218.
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 on the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.