FOUR BOYS GO UNDER PAR TO MEDAL AT THE AJGA NATIONAL QUALIFIER AT PENN STATE
Gabasa shoots 1-under-par 71 to earn Medalist Honors in the Girls Division at Penn State Golf Course
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Mark Reilly of Babylon, N.Y., Christian De La Cruz of San Antonio, Michael Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., and Joo-Young Lee of Hilliard, Ohio, each fired a 1-under-par 71 to medal in the Boys Division Monday at the AJGA National Qualifier at Penn State. Irina Paulin Gabasa of Cebu, Philippines was the Girls Division Medalist at 1-under-par 71.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA National Qualifier at Penn State was an 18-hole stroke play event held at Penn State Golf Course. The tournament featured 80 boys and 20 girls, ages 12-18, from 20 states, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,751 yards, while the Girls Division played at 5,963 yards.
Reilly started his round right with a birdie on No. 12 (his first hole) and continued to play strong, carding a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine.
“I was making every putt from about ten feet today,” Reilly said. “I had back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18. On No. 7 I hit a 4-iron to 3 feet and birdied that hole too.”
De La Cruz started on No. 2 with a par that set the tone for a good round.
“I hit a huge cut into the bunker and then I chunked a 6-iron from there and hit a 40 yard pitch shot to a foot from the hole and made the putt for par,” De La Cruz said. “After I saved par on the first hole, I felt that it could be a good day. This is my first year in the AJGA, and I'm going to be in eighth grade next year, so it was cool to beat all the kids already in high school.”
Werenski also made a birdie on his first hole of the day and finished his round strong with a birdie on No. 18 (his last hole).
“I was hitting the ball really well and I hit 16 greens in regulation,” Werenski said. “My birdies were all about four or five foot putts, and I played a solid round and didn't make mistakes.
Lee was the final medalist in the Boys Division playing a consistent round with birdies on Nos. 1, 8 and 14.
Also earning a Tournament Exemption in the Boys Division were Ryan Prokay of Grove City, Pa. at 73; Ryan Cole of Mount Airy, Md., Jonathan Gerrard of Highland Park, Ill., and Anthony Miller of West Lawn, Pa., at 74; Chris Houston of Gilford, N.H., Alex Church of Timonium, Md., Eric Peng of San Diego, William Mallia of Schenectady, N.Y., and Kurtis Straw of Johnstown, Pa., and Ted Brennan of Newtown Square, Pa., at 75.
In the Girls Division, Gabasa carded five birdies on the day, beating the competition by four strokes.
“My putting really helped me and my second shots to the greens were pretty good,” Gabasa said. “I am proud of myself because 71 is a good round for me.”
Also earning a Tournament Exemption in the Girls Division was Cha Cha Willhoite of Palm Desert, Calif., who carded a 3-over-par 75.
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.
For more information about the AJGA National Qualifier at Penn State, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.