HOFFMANN WINS FIRST AJGA INVITATIONAL TITLE AT POLO GOLF JUNIOR CLASSIC
SEA ISLAND , Ga. – Morgan Hoffman of Wyckoff , N.J. , won his first American Junior Golf Association invitational title with a 3 and 2 victory over Rickie Fowler of Murrieta , Calif. , in the Boys Division match play finals at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. In the Girls Division, 2006 Rolex Junior Player of the Year Esther Choe of Scottsdale , Ariz. , notched her fourth career AJGA invitational victory with a 3 and 2 win over Cydney Clanton of Concord , N.C.
The Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been conducted annually since 1978, marked the first tournament of the AJGA’s 2007 season. The stroke play portion of the tournament included 162 boys and girls ages 12-18 from 29 states and seven foreign countries. Former champions include Stewart Cink (1989), Trevor Immelman (1995), Tiger Woods (1991), Paula Creamer (2002), Grace Park (1994, 1996) and Morgan Pressel (2004).
Despite a solid performance in the quarter and semifinals, Hoffman felt uneasy with his game on the eve of his championship match. After talking with his coaches and some additional practicing, Hoffmann felt ready to face Fowler, the No. 2 ranked junior boy in the Polo Golf Rankings.
“When I stepped to the first tee, it all fell in place,” the 17-year-old said. “I hit my first tee shot and I knew it would be a good day.”
Fowler was 1-up heading to the third hole, but Hoffmann drained a 20-foot birdie putt to make the match go all-square. The win on that hole got his momentum going, and Hoffmann then went 1-up on the fourth hole with a par four. Hoffman would never relinquish the lead and went 3-up on Fowler for good with a par on the 15th hole. He credits a solid driver and confidence in his game as the key factors in his victory, as well as a strong support group.
“The whole year my coaches and I have been working up to this tournament,” Hoffman said. “Winning Polo is huge. My coaches came and have been so supportive, so it’s especially nice to win with them here.”
Hoffman previously won the 2004 Nike Golf Junior at Quad Cities.
In the Girls Division, Choe began her round against Clanton determined to continue her dominating performance during this week’s matches.
“I’ve been playing really solid throughout match play,” Choe said. “I’ve been putting and chipping well and wanted to do the same today, and I’m happy I did.”
Choe and Clanton stayed close throughout the front nine, with Choe taking her first lead of the match on the par-4 ninth hole. After hitting her approach shot into the greenside bunker, Choe chipped in for birdie and the win. Choe used her strong short game to remain in the lead throughout the rest of the match, recording another birdie on the par-4 No. 12 and draining another chip to save par on the par-3 No. 14.
“Winning Polo means so much to me,” Choe said. “I haven’t had the best record in match play, so to win is huge.”
The victory is Choe’s third AJGA invitational title of the year, notching additional wins at the Rolex Girls Championship and the inaugural PING Invitational. She also won the Rolex Tournament of Champions and Hiwan Junior presented by Stonecreek Funding in 2005, and the I.R.I Golf Group Arizona National Junior in 2004.
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, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 foreign countries.
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 support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel.
Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation is a leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories and fragrances. For more than 39 years, Polo's reputation and distinctive image have been consistently developed across an expanding number of products, brands and international markets. The Company's brand names, which include “Polo by Ralph Lauren,” “Ralph Lauren Purple Label,” “Ralph Lauren,” “Black Label,” “Blue Label,” “Lauren by Ralph Lauren,” “Polo Jeans Co.,” “RRL,” “RLX,” “Rugby,” “RL Childrenswear,” “Chaps,” and “Club Monaco” among others, constitute one of the world's most widely recognized families of consumer brands. For more information, go to http://investor.polo.com.
For more information about the Polo Golf Junior Classic, contact national headquarters at (770) 868-4200 or visit the tournament Web site at http://www.ajga.org/2006polo.