CRAWFORD FIRES CAREER TOURNAMENT LOW FOR MEDALIST HONORS
Gonyea drives ball well, securing Medalist Honors by one shot
FORT WORTH, Texas — Kolton Crawford of Mansfield, Texas, participating in his first AJGA event, took little time adjusting to the national stage, firing a 5-under-par 67 en route to earn Medalist Honors in the K12 Qualifier for the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic. Kelly Gonyea of Harker Heights, Texas, earned Medalist Honors in the Girls Division by one shot with a 6-over-par 78.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Ką˛ Qualifier for the Elbit Systems of American Junior Golf Classic was an 18-hole stroke play event held at Southern Oaks Golf Club. The tournament field featured 95 boys and girls, ages 12-18, from 13 states, Philippines, New Zealand, and Mexico. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 7,078 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at 6,001 yards. Typically held the day prior to AJGA Open tournaments, 18-hole K12 Qualifiers give juniors an opportunity to "play their way in" to each coinciding AJGA tournament or build their AJGA Performance Based Entry status. In all, 11 boys and three girls advanced from the K12 Qualifier and have the opportunity to play in the Elbit Systems of America Junior Classic, which begins Tuesday, June 23. The K12 Qualifier Series offers opportunities for AJGA juniors at approximately 50 AJGA Open events.
Crawford, who started on No. 2 in the shotgun format, birdied his opening hole as well as his two finishing holes, and added four more birdies in between on Nos. 9, 11, 13, and 15 for his lowest career tournament round. Crawford earned medalist honors and a tee time in Tuesday's tournament with excellent ball striking, repeatedly knocking it close for short birdie opportunities.
“I started off well by making birdie on my first hole,” Crawford said. “I think that got me going the right way, and it's my lowest tournament round yet, so I'm very pleased with the way I played.”
The 11 players filling Tuesday's tournament field, including Crawford, will be Colby Webb of Burleson, Texas, Cole Kennedy of Texarkana, Texas, Kevin Foley of The Woodlands, Texas, Cole Horowitz of Dallas, Texas, Colin Buckley of Ennis, Texas, Ben Dowling of Southlake, Texas, Brandon Pederson of Austin, Texas, Kevin Marusiak of Phoenix, Ariz., Dan Wagner of Dallas, Texas, and Scott McAlpine of Auckland, New Zealand.
Qualifying but opting to take a Tournament Exemption instead of playing in the tournament were Greg Polledri of Southlake, Texas, Jeremy LeGuen of Highland Village, Texas, David Cha of Carrollton, Texas, Philip Colwell of The Woodlands, Texas, Austin Jung of Lubbock, Texas, Hunter Zetsche of Frisco, Texas, and Matthew Isler of Southlake, Texas.
In the Girls Division, Gonyea combined accuracy and distance with her driver to continually hit the fairway and make a number of solid pars on the day, as well as a birdie on the par-4 No. 16, earning her spot in the field and a Tournament Exemption in the process with Medalist Honors.
“It was a good round,” Gonyea said. “I hit my driver really well, and it was an awesome day.”
Bethany Wu of Diamond Bar, Calif., and Courtney Ferguson of Houston, Texas, both accomplished their mission of qualifying for this week's event. Sara Handa of Poway, Calif., qualified but will bypass participating in this week's event in favor of taking a Tournament Exemption.
Ką˛ Inc., a technology-based education company, is the nation's leading provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs to students in grades K-12. Ką˛ provides its curriculum and academic services to online schools, traditional classrooms, blended school programs, and directly to families. Over 55,000 students in 23 states and the District of Columbia are enrolled in online public schools that use the Ką˛ program. Ką˛ Inc. also operates the Ką˛ International Academy, an accredited, diploma-granting online private school serving students worldwide. The Ką˛ academic program is used by many young people pursuing careers in athletics, music, art, acting, and other professions that require a high degree of scheduling flexibility. More information can be found at www.k12.com.
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 50 states and 30 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 350 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.
First-round tee times for the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic will run from 7 — 8:39 a.m. and Noon — 1:39 p.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees Tuesday, June 23, at Southern Oaks Golf Club. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Julie Kickbusch at (770) 617-3050.