DeHuff's Six Birdies Secure Victory at Savannah Quarters Country Club
Mitsunaga takes home first victory at AJGA Junior at Savannah Quarters
POOLER, Ga. — Kevin DeHuff of Coto de Caza, Calif., entered the final round of the AJGA Junior at Savannah Quarters five strokes behind the leader; however, that gap was diminished within his first four holes of the day. Shooting a low final-round score of 4-under-par 68, DeHuff finished the tournament at 1-under-par 143 to claim his first AJGA championship. In the Girls Division, Rinko Mitsunaga of Roswell, Ga., overcame a one-shot deficit from the first round of play, shooting a tournament total 2-over-par 146 to claim the win.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Junior at Savannah Quarters was a 36-hole stroke play competition held on the par-72 Savannah Quarters Country Club course. The course played to 6,872 yards for the boys and 6,065 for the girls. The 78-player field featured players from 23 states and 11 foreign countries.
DeHuff knew he would have to shoot low if he wanted to close in on the leader groups and did just that after firing a string of birdies on Nos. 10 through 13, his first four holes of the day after starting on No. 10. Those birdies were accentuated by a chip-in eagle on No. 17. The birdies did not stop there, as he notched two more on Nos. 1 and 8.
“It really started at the beginning of the round with my four birdies in a row,” DeHuff said. “I had a poor double bogey on No. 16, but chipped in for eagle right after on No. 17. That really gave me confidence and helped my play on the front nine holes. I was rolling the putter great and just felt confident.”
DeHuff's comeback victory was made sweeter by the fact that it was his very first AJGA victory of his career.
“Any victory breathes a lot of confidence into your game, especially your first victory,” DeHuff said. “I am just hoping to carry this momentum through the rest of the season and hopefully meet my goal of playing in an Invitational event.”
Nick Tremps of Williamsburg, Va., finished with an even-par 144 to take home second place. In third place was Edward Figueroa of Naples, Fla., with a 1-over-par 145. In a tie for fourth in the Boys Division, each with a score of 2-over-par 146 was Tyler Gentilella of Parkland, Fla., Wesley Gosselin of Knoxville, Tenn., Chad Merzbacher of Dublin, Ohio, and John Jonas of Jacksonville, Fla.
While Mitsunaga felt that she played consistently all day long, firing birdies on Nos. 4, 8 and 13, it was actually a double bogey on the par-4 second hole that pushed her level of play.
“My double bogey really caught my attention,” Mitsunaga said. “It forced me to focus and get going. After that I was able to focus the whole time and my entire game went along with me which helped me out a lot.”
After notching six top-10 finishes over the last three years, Mitsunaga was ecstatic over obtaining her ultimate goal—an AJGA victory.
“It feels like I won a major right now,” Mitsunaga said. “This proves that if you work hard and just be patient, your time will come to win. I plan to play five or six more AJGA events this year and hopefully my first victory will set me up for more great performances.”
Abby Newton of Katy, Texas, finished the tournament in second place with a score of 5-over-par 149. Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division tied at 6-over-par 150 were Pailin Ruttanasupagid of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Angel Yin of Arcadia, Calif.
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 more than 40 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 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
For more information about the AJGA Junior at Savannah Quarters, contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.