Young, Ström crowned 2013 Polo Golf Junior Classic champions
Pair collects first AJGA victories at PGA National Resort & Spa
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Cameron Young of Scarborough, N.Y., defeated three first-team Rolex Junior All-Americans en route to his first AJGA win at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. Linnea Ström of Hovas, Sweden, edged her final three challengers 1-up to earn her first AJGA victory at PGA National Resort & Spa.
The Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been conducted annually since 1978, marked the first tournament of the American Junior Golf Association's 2014 season. The 156-player invitation-only field was made up of 78 boys and 78 girls, ages 13-18, from 27 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).
Young, playing in only his second AJGA event, earned the No. 5 seed for match play competition after finishing stroke play at 1-over-par 144. Standing between the 2015 graduate and champion honors were five players who have combined for seven AJGA wins and included three first-team Rolex Junior All-Americans.
“This is probably the best field I’ve ever played against – the most concentrated junior field in the world,” Young said. “Beating the kids I did in Brad Dalke, Andy Zhang and Jorge [Garcia] today … I even surprised myself.”
Young faced No. 30 seed Jorge Garcia of Miami, a two-time 2013 champion, in the final match Friday. After halving the first hole, Garcia made double and conceded No. 2, giving Young the 1-up lead. Young would never relinquish the lead, playing the remainder of the round without a bogey and pushing ahead to a 4-up lead through 13 holes. On the green of No. 14, Young ended the match after sinking a 20-foot putt for birdie.
“It’s an honor to be here and to have won, it’s a great feeling,” Young said. “At the end of this long week, I was just so tired. I was so focused on every shot and just getting one foot in front of the other. It made it a lot easier, actually, not being able to think too much.”
Ström faced an equally difficult track to the final match as Young, facing two first-team Rolex Junior All-Americans, as well as a member of the Second Team and an Honorable Mention honoree. Her challengers have combined for 10 AJGA wins.
In the final match of the event, No. 18 seed Ström was slated against No. 13 seed Lakareber Abe of Angleton, Texas. An accomplished match play competitor, Abe made it to the finals of the 2013 U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship in July. After taking a 5-up through nine lead, Ström faced a difficult back-nine stretch, losing five of the next six holes.
“I was very nervous the entire round,” Ström said. “Even when I was 5-up after nine holes I just tried to focus on my own game. She [Abe] started to play good and I made some bogies, but I just wanted to win so much.”
With a 1-up edge after the first of three holes in the infamous Bear Trap, the Swede channeled her inner competitor, making skilled plays from bunkers on No. 16 and 17 to protect her lead. On the final hole of the afternoon, Ström made par to seal the victory and become the first Swedish girl to win the Polo Golf Junior Classic.
“I’m just very happy,” Ström said. “It has been so great to be here this week. Everything has been so well organized, everyone is so nice and the courses have been very good. I have been working very hard back home in Sweden, so I’m just very happy [to get this win].”
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About Ralph Lauren
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About the American Junior Golf Association
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 6,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 50 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 fourth decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, 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 Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Day two match play results from the Polo Golf Junior Classic conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at PGA National Resort & Spa — Champion Course.
The American Junior Golf Foundation is the primary recipient of all charitable giving to the AJGA and as such administers a variety of programs designed to compliment the AJGA and the members and families who make up our community. Learn more about these important programs and how your contributions to the Foundation secure the AJGA’s financial future for future generations to come.
The Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program provides financial assistance to junior golfers who wish to play in AJGA events. Its goal is to give top-flight golf opportunities to young golfers regardless of financial resources. This program helps to fulfill the AJGA’s mission of developing young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.
What is Leadership Links?
Leadership Links is a new program whereby the AJGA is able to further its mission to help develop young men and women by teaching charitable giving skills and service-oriented practices at an early age. This program gives juniors all the tools necessary to donate their time, talent and resources to local charities and the AJGA youth development programs. Please click here to learn more about the program and the different opportunities available.
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.