Gerard Grabs First AJGA Victory at the Erie Junior Golf Classic
Campbell captures win at The Kahkwa Club
ERIE, Pa. — Matthew Gerard of Rocky River, Ohio, fired a final-round 2-under-par 69 to claim his first-ever AJGA win in the Boys Division at The Kahkwa Club. Talia Campbell of Dallas, carded a 2-over-par 73 on her way to winning the Girls Division at the Erie Junior Golf Classic.
The Erie Junior Golf Classic was a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at The Kahkwa Club. The 98-player field featured 74 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 15 states and Canada. The Boys Division played the par-71 course at 6,518 yards while the Girls Division played at 6,045 yards.
Gerard played some of his best golf this week to earn his first AJGA victory. Putting together rounds of 3-under-par 68 and two consecutive 2-under-par 69s, Gerard said he played a complete game to shoot 7-under-par 206.
“I just got everything going this week,” Gerard said. “It just all happened to work out for me.”
Relying on a great wedge game, Gerard carded five birdies in the final round. In a round jam-packed with competition through nine holes, Gerard used three back-nine birdies to nudge himself to a three-shot victory.
“My wedges were key this week,” Gerard said. “Everything from 60 yards out I was hitting close. My mental game was good too. I was just thinking good thoughts.”
Earning three previous top tens, Gerard said he dedicated himself to doing well at this event and his hard work paid off.
“Winning this is awesome,” Gerard said. “I prepared for this week for a long time and I worked hard. There is no better feeling.”
Finishing in a tie for second place were Ryan Cole of Mount Airy, Md., and Meechai Padungsiriseth of Bradenton, Fla., with 4-under-par 209. In fourth with a 3-under-par 210 was Zachary Toste of Pembroke Pines, Fla. In fifth place was Zachary Herr of New Hope, Pa., with a 2-under-par 211.
In the Girls Division, Campbell started the final round tied for the lead, but quickly took control and then never faltered. Firing the girl's low final round of 2-over-par 73 and finishing with a 5-over-par 218, Campbell earned the Girls Division title.
“I definitely thought I played my best golf all week and maybe the best all summer,” Campbell said. “My short game was dependable and consistent this week and more importantly my putting was great.”
Staying focused on her game and not the victory, Campbell sank five final-round birdies for a six-shot win.
“I just wanted to stay in the moment and not think about the possibility of winning,” Campbell said.
Capturing her second AJGA win, Campbell said winning in a competitive field was rewarding.
“The field was extremely strong,” Campbell said. “I think this win shows how far I've come as a player to be able to compete and win against this great field.”
In second was Erica Herr of New Hope, Pa., with an 11-over-par 224. In third with a 12-over-par 225 was Kendall Allen of Pittsburgh, Pa.
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 Erie Junior Golf Classic please contact Tournament Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.