Lerda Birdies Final Hole to Seal Win at the AJGA Junior at Diablo Grande
Prince goes wire-to-wire to garner victory
PATTERSON, Calif. – Julian Lerda of Buenos Aires, Argentina, fired a final-round 70 and made a clutch birdie on No. 18 to take the Boys Division title at the AJGA Junior at Diablo Grande. Kendall Prince, of Lake Oswego, Ore., won the Girls Division by one stroke with a 2-over-par 73 in the final round, bringing her tournament total to 3-over-par 145.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Junior at Diablo Grande was a 36-hole stroke play competition played on Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club's Ranch course. The 95-player field featured players from 10 states and three foreign countries. The Boys Division played at 6,824 yards and the Girls Division played at 5,890 yards.
Lerda began the day one shot off the lead and battled with several other players throughout the round. Tied for the lead going into No. 18, Lerda sent his drive down the middle of the fairway, hit his approach shot to within five feet and calmly sank a birdie putt for the win.
“Going into the last hole I just tried to be my best, and I didn't know what the other scores were,” Lerda said. “I felt like I putted very well and my drives were long and straight all day.”
Luke Park of Fullerton, Calif., tied for the lowest round of the day with a 3-under-par 69 and finished in second at 1-under-par 143 for the tournament. Walker Huddy of Studio City, Calif., also shot a final-round 69 and took third at 1-over-par 145. Jack Chung of Buena Park, Calif., and Brandon Mai of Poway, Calif., tied for fourth at 2-over-par 146.
Prince, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend The Ohio State University in the fall, admitted that she didn't have her best day on the course but simply kept grinding for the win.
“I just tried to have a positive attitude and keep plugging away,” Prince said. “I was one shot down after nine holes but I just had a good attitude and kept going.”
Hannah Suh of San Jose, Calif., took second with a 4-over-par 146 and Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, Calif., finished in the top three for the second straight week, taking third with a 5-over-par 147.
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 on the AJGA Junior at Diablo Grande contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200, or visit the AJGA website at ajga.org.