CLEVELAND JUNIOR OPEN
Red Tail Golf Club
Avon, Ohio • June 28 - July 1
First-Time Champion Ruffino Conquers Cleveland Junior Open
Luo wins second-career playoff with a victory at Red Tail Golf Club
AVON, Ohio — Francesco Ruffino of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., finished with a total of 7-over-par 223 Thursday to take the Boys Division win. Linda Luo of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., battled through a sudden-death playoff to win the Girls Division at 8-over-par 224.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Cleveland Junior Open was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Red Tail Golf Club in Avon, Ohio. The 120-player field featured 88 boys and 29 girls, ages 12-18, from 15 states, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and Colombia. The par-72 course was played from 6,954 yards in the Boys Division and 6,151 yards in the Girls Division.
With the lead heading into the final round, Ruffino started the day with a double bogey, but continued with seven straight pars and picked up a pair of 20-foot putts to make back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15.
Ruffino bogeyed No. 16 to tie with Avon, Ohio local, Beau Titsworth.
“I knew I was tied after No. 17,” Ruffino said. “I wasn’t sure what he (Titsworth) did on No. 18, so I thought, alright just make a par and maybe get into a playoff. I really wasn’t sure.”
In only his second AJGA Open event, Ruffino gained his first ever win with a par on No. 18 to card a 76 for the day. Just last week, Ruffino tied for 12th at the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior in Ashland, Ky.
“It’s only my second AJGA event, so it’s nice to win,” Ruffino said. “You see those players who are fully exempt and it’s been a goal of mine. It’s nice that my name is finally there.”
Tied for second in the Boys Division at 9-over-par 225 were Titsworth, Sebastian Barnoya of Guatemala, Guatemala, and Andrew Fogg of Greenwood, Ind. In fifth at 11-over-par 227 was Scott Smith of Pepper Pike, Ohio.
A five-way tie for first at 8-over-par 224 forced Luo, Samantha Swinehart of Lancaster, Ohio, Allison Harper of Columbus, Ohio, Pei-Chun Chen of Bradenton, Fla., and Laura Murray of Tipp City, Ohio to compete in a sudden-death playoff.
The four-hole playoff ended with Swinehart and Luo on the par-5 13th hole. Luo made a four-foot putt for birdie to beat Swinehart who made par after a two-putt.
This wasn’t Luo’s first experience with a playoff. In June, Luo won the AJGA Sarasota Junior after a three-way sudden death playoff.
“I’ve done this before so I was just calm,” said Luo who carded four birdies to shoot 73 on the day. “After you’ve been in a playoff, you are more relaxed and less nervous.”
Tied for second after the playoff were Swinehart, Harper, Chen and Murray.
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 provides valuable exposure for
college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls
ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30
countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have
the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant
program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
For more information about the Cleveland Junior Open, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at 770-868-4200 or visit the website at www.ajga.org.