Vongphoumy Stays Calm On Her Way to 3rd Straight AJGA Win at the AJGA Apawamis Junior
Lavin puts it all together to win first ever AJGA event at The Apawamis Club
RYE, N.Y. — Juliet Vongphoumy of Providence, R.I., shot a 3-under-par 213 to take home her third straight trophy in as many appearances this year. In the Boys Division, Bennett Lavin of Deerfield, Ill., put together a solid week of golf, also shooting a 3-under-par 213, to capture his first AJGA win.
The AJGA Apawamis Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at The Apawamis Club. The tournament field featured 72 boys and 27 girls, ages 12-18, from 17 states, the United Kingdom, China and Canada. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,525 yards while the Girls Division played at 5,837 yards.
Lavin entered the day with a one-stroke lead and despite some errant shots, was able to scramble to save par and even bogey on some key holes down the stretch.
“My short game was great today,” Lavin said. “On No. 13, I hit my second shot in the hazard and had to take a penalty, but I was able to hit a perfect wedge shot to two feet and made the putt for bogey. That really kept me going for the last few holes.”
Being a first-time champion means a lot to Lavin, who has been playing in AJGA events since 2006. He feels that he is playing some of his best golf recently and hopes the momentum of this win carries over into his upcoming events.
“I've been playing in AJGA events for a while and never won,” Lavin said. “I have been playing really well the past month and it was great to be able to put it all together for a tournament.”
Four strokes behind Lavin in second place was Charles Edler of Fair Haven, N.J., at 1-over-par 217. Finishing in third place at 3-over-par 219 was Anthony Alex of Wayne, N.J. Dylan Murray of Westport, Conn., finished in fourth with a 4-over-par 220. Rounding out the Boys Division top five was Colin McDade of Rye, N.Y., at 5-over-par 221.
This week Vongphoumy was able to keep rolling and captured her third straight victory in only three attempts. If that is not enough, she has also taken the low final-round award, a coveted Scotty Cameron putter cover, in all three appearances. But what really is impressive is her demeanor on and off the course. She is able to remain focused and not let her emotions get the better of her.
“I think my strength this week was my ability to remain calm,” Vongphoumy said. “It's easy to get frustrated out there with the challenges of this course, but staying calm was what won it for me.”
While remaining calm was a big emotional factor, her consistency throughout the week on this narrow course is the reason she is taking home a third straight trophy, PING champion bag and Scotty Cameron putter cover. Her previous victories came at the Nemacolin Junior Classic and the Deutsche Bank Partners for Charity Junior Shootout.
“There are a lot of emotions running around (after winning a third straight event),” Vongphoumy said. “I was very surprised this week, but every tournament is the same mindset for me. I just tell myself to go out and play my best and have fun.”
Finishing in second at 11-over-par 227 was Cindy Ha of Demarest, N.J. Yu Liu of Beijing, China finished third with a 14-over-par 230.
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.
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. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
For more information about the AJGA Apawamis Junior, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.