MCCARTAN CAPS OFF AJGA CAREER WITH VICTORY AT RIVERCUT GOLF COURSE
Gulugian takes Girls Division title by seven strokes at Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Kyle McCartan of Plano, Texas, posted a three-day total 7-under-par 209 to claim his first AJGA title at the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship. Ani Gulugian of Irvine, Calif., carded a tournament total 1-under-par 215 to win the Girls Division by seven strokes.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Rivercut Golf Course. The tournament field featured 75 boys and 23 girls, ages 12-18, from 12 states. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,947 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at 5,985 yards.
McCartan entered the final round with a three-shot lead but struggled on the front nine, beginning the day with a bogey.
“I kept grinding away and kept trying to get it going,” McCartan said.
He turned it around on the last three holes with birdies on Nos. 16 and 17, crediting the change to the work of his putter back on the back nine, and completed the round at 1-over-par 73. McCartan claimed victory in the last AJGA event of his career, citing golf as a game of improvement as he moves on to Boston College in the fall.
“Not very many guys get to do that,” McCartan said of his win. “It's wonderful when you accomplish one of your goals. Hopefully I can take this and progress throughout college.”
In second at 6-under-par 210 was defending champion Jace Long of Dixon, Mo. Taking the third spot was Harry Higgs of Overland Park, Kan., at 5-under-par 211 followed by David Klaudt of Dallas at 4-under-par 212. Finishing tied for fifth were Chun-Ji Kim of Chandler, Ariz., Chris Brant of Edwardsville, Ill., Austin Struble of Aledo, Texas, and Brian Steele of Springfield, Mo., each at 1-under-par 215.
Gulugian was the second-round leader after posting a women's competitive course record of 5-under-par 67 Wednesday. In the final round she recorded three birdies, with back-to-back on Nos. 4 and 5 to finish the day at even-par 72. After winning the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia Ranch in 2006, Gulugian has been anxious to lift another trophy.
“I've been working really hard for it,” Gulugain said. “All my hard work paid off. I've been close to winning, just not getting it.”
Defending champion Julia Thead of Poway, Calif., and Emily Collins of Colleyville, Texas, tied for second at 6-over-par 222 respectively.
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 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 Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.