PRATT COASTS TO WIN AT VANDERBILT LEGENDS CLUB
Mao's playoff birdie leads to victory
FRANKLIN, Tenn. Conner Pratt of Birmingham, Ala., recorded his third under-par round of the week with a 3-under-par 68 en route to a 10-shot victory at the AJGA Southeast Junior Open. Briana Mao of Folsom, Calif., erased a one-shot deficit with a 2-under-par 70 before winning in a sudden-death playoff in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Southeast Junior Open was a 54-hole stroke play event held at the Vanderbilt Legends Club South Course. The tournament field featured 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 20 states and China. The Boys Division played the par-71 course at 7,059 yards, while the Girls Division played the layout at par-72, 6,089 yards.
Resting on the strength of a course-record 9-under-par 62 in the second round, Pratt was able to put his round on cruise control, carding birdies at Nos. 1, 6, 8 and 15. Pratt's 13-under-par 200 tournament total led to the Coastal Carolina commit's second AJGA championship of the summer.
My coach from Coastal kind of surprised me by showing up and my grandpa showed up for some support, Pratt said. I was just trying to keep it in play today. I coasted on the back and I was able to relax.
Motin Yeung of Orlando, Fla., finished in second with a third-straight 1-under-par 70 and a 3-under-par 210 tournament total. Daniel Stringfellow of Roselle, Ill., was third with a 2-under-par 211 total. JD Tomlinson of Gainesville, Fla., finished in fourth with a 1-under-par 212 total and Will Snipes of Rocky Face, Ga., rounded out the top five at even-par 213.
Mao recorded birdies at Nos. 7, 12 and 14 to stand at 3-under-par for her round heading into No. 17 with a one-shot lead over Kendall Martindale of Jefferson City, Tenn. However, Mao three-putted for bogey at the 17th and pars for both players at the last took them to No. 10 for a sudden-death playoff.
After both players found the green in regulation, Mao dropped a 30-foot birdie putt to cap off her comeback win and first AJGA victory.
I really thought I needed to make the putt on No. 17, but then I three-putted, Mao said. On No. 10, I had basically the same putt earlier in my round, but just closer. I somehow make myself do better in playoffs. My parents say I handle pressure really well.
Martindale finished in second, tying Mao's 2-under-par 214 tournament total. First- and second-round leader A.J. Newell of Tampa, Fla., was third with a 2-over-par 218 tournament total.
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 50 states and more than 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 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.
For more information on the AJGA Southeast Junior Open, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.