Price, Clark relied on confidence to tie at St. James Plantation
Yeatts pulls ahead in Girls Division to win by four strokes at The Founders Club
SOUTHPORT, N.C. — Archer Price of Gastonia, N.C., and Griffin Clark of Colonial Heights, Va., each carded a 2-over-par 146 to share the top of the leader board, while Alaina Yeatts of Durham, N.C., came from one-stroke behind after the first round to clinch the win in the Girls Division with an 8-over-par 152 tournament total.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation was a 36-hole stroke play competition played at The Founders Club. The par-72 course played at 6,507 yards for the boys and 5,695 yards for the girls. The 95-player field featured players from 12 states and Canada, including 41 players from North Carolina.
Clark felt solid with his game in the tournament, even through the high winds and cold weather of the first round. The 16-year-old gained more confidence on the back-nine by making a 10-foot putt for par on No. 13 and chipping it in on No. 14.
“When I chipped in on No. 14 after I got away with an almost out of bounds drive, I knew that if I made par the rest of the holes I would be at the top,” Clark said. “I don't chip in a lot so I was excited on that one.”
In his second showing at the Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation, Price came back from a double bogey on the first hole and bogeys on the second and third to tie for first place with even-par 72. By making a 25-foot putt for birdie on the 18th green to finish up the final round, the 15-year-old felt the excitement of his first win in an AJGA event amongst claps and cheers from the crowd.
“I felt clutch when I made birdie on 18,” Price said. “I was like I finally made a putt.”
David Long of Catonsville, Md., and Keegan Hoff of Charlotte, N.C., joined Jeff Tremblay of Granby, Mass., in third place with 3-over-par 147 tournament totals.
In the Girls Division, Yeatts shot a 2-over-par 74 to pull ahead and clinch her first win in her first AJGA event. The 15-year-old started the round with a birdie on No. 1 and kept up the pace throughout the day.
“I played pretty steady,” Yeatts said. “There were a lot of good players out there and the course showed the good players and showed weaknesses of the good players.”
Karishma Thiagaraj of Haymarket, Va., shot the low final-round score for the girls at 1-under-par 71 to nab second place with a tournament total 12-over-par 156. Followed closely behind in third place was first-round leader Olivia Landino of Hermitage, Pa., with a 13-over-par 157.
The AJGA's Preseason Junior Series is designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet been accepted to or participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year.
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 Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation, contact AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.