ROSS COMES FROM BEHIND TO WIN FIRST AJGA TOURNAMENT WITH A VICTORY AT PENN STATE G.C.
First-round co-leader Wagner comes back to win Girls Division at the Junior All-Star at Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. â€” Matthew Ross of Hartland, Wis., started the day two strokes behind the first- and second-round leader, Taylor McCullum of Hoover, Ala., but was able to fire a 3-under-par 69 in Thursday's final round to win the Boys Division at 4-under-par 212. Samantha Wagner of Easton, Pa., posted a 2-under-par 70 to come from two strokes back and win the Girls Division at 6-over-par 222.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Penn State was a 54-hole stroke-play event with a 36-hole cut held at Penn State Golf Course â€” Blue Course. The field was made up of 104 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-15, from 24 states, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,589 yards and the Girls Division played at 5,963 yards.
Ross played in the same pairing as McCullum every day this week and that was his fuel to pull through today and string together five birdies on the day.
â€śI worked on my putting because McCullum was putting so well that I knew I needed to putt better today in order to do well,â€ť Ross said. â€śI was hitting my driver well but I really think I need to keep working on my putting stroke to do well at the Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational in October.â€ť
McCullum finished in second with a final-round score of even-par 72 and a total of 3-under-par 213. Eric Edwards of Salisbury, N.C., came in third with a final-round score of 2-under-par 70 and a total of 1-under-par 215. Only one stroke behind in fourth was Jonathan Gerrard of Highland Park, Ill., who carded a 1-under-par 71 in his final round for an even-par 216 total. Rounding out the Boys Division top five in a tie were Alex Bourdelais of Pittsford, N.Y., and Michael Bernard of Huber Heights, Ohio, who shot 2-under-par 70 and 4-under-par 68, respectively, in their final rounds to finish at 1-over-par 217.
During Tuesday's first round, Wagner had a four-hole birdie streak starting on hole No. 12 and today she continued that trend with great putting on the back nine.
â€śI had three birdies in a row today starting on No. 13 and I only missed one fairway,â€ť Wagner said. â€śMy long irons and putting were really good today. All I wanted was a top three finish but winning feels even better.â€ť
Closing out the Girls Division top three in a tie for second were Irina Paulin Gabasa of Cebu, Philippines, with a 2-over-par 74 final-round score and Vivian Tsui of Markham, Ontario, with a 3-over-par 75, giving them totals of 10-over-par 226.
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 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 200 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.
The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series is a collection of nine events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 and presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into Open tournaments. Juniors are limited to a maximum combination of five AJGA Open and Junior All-Star Series events during a calendar year. The series concludes with the Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, a full-time junior golf training and development program, enters its first year as an Official Partner of the AJGA. The partnership features an endowment of an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which will provide juniors access to national competitive golf opportunities.
For more information about the Junior All-Star at Penn State contact National Headquarters at (770)868-4200.
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