Darland defeats Lapa in playoff to capture Boys Division title at AJGA Lubbock Junior
Johnston comes from behind to win Girls Division at The Rawls Course at Texas Tech University
LUBBOCK, Texas — Tad Darland of Henderson, Nev., and Kolton Lapa of Mesa, Ariz., needed 19 holes on Friday to determine a winner in the Boys Division of the AJGA Lubbock Junior. After 54 holes, Darland and Lapa were knotted at 12-under-par 204. One sudden-death hole later, Darland tapped in for par to win in his final AJGA event. Coming from four strokes back, Allie Johnston of Castle Rock, Colo., carded a 4-under-par 68 to win the Girls Division with a tournament total of 213.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Lubbock Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event at The Rawls Course at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. The tournament field consisted of 72 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18 from 12 states, Mexico and Colombia. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 7,041 yards and the Girls Division played at 6,224 yards.
Seven birdies in his last 12 holes fueled Darland to a 6-under-par 66 Friday, forcing the playoff with Lapa, who shot a 4-under-par 68. In the playoff, Darland and Lapa played the par-5 No. 18 shot for shot until Darland stuck his approach shot within 15 feet, while Lapa's rolled off the back of the green. After a lengthy chip came up about 16 feet short, Lapa rolled his par putt four feet past the hole, allowing Darland to two-putt for the victory.
“I felt comfortable. I kind of felt like I had an edge after he missed such a short putt (on No. 18 in regulation),” Darland said.
Darland, who lived in Lubbock for several years in elementary school, said it was “pretty special” to win in front of a large group of supporters.
“It's kind of my last AJGA event, so I just had the drive to go out there and finish well; go out with a bang,” he said.
First- and second-round leader, Daniel De La Garza of Monterrey, Mexico, finished third with a tournament total of 205. Sean Walsh of Keller, Texas, and Vincent Whaley of McKinney, Texas, were tied for fourth with a tournament total of 206.
Johnston, who finished her final round with birdies on the final two holes, said she was still in shock following her victory.
“It was kind of surprising. I've never won an AJGA event, so it was kind of shocking, but super fun,” the senior-to-be said. “It was perfect weather and I love this course.
Johnston edged out Bethany Wu of Diamond Bar, Calif., who finished second with a tournament total of 214. Jordan Ferreira of University Place, Wash., was third with a tournament total of 215.
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, 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 Lubbock Junior, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.