EDGES OUT GROTE FOR FIRST AJGA VICTORY
Turner holds lead, wins Girls Division of Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic
Ga. - Ben Spickard of Roswell, Ga., held off Travis Grote
of Birmingham, Ala., by two strokes for the Boys Division
title in the inaugural AJGA Ringgold Telephone Company Junior
Classic. In the Girls Division, Marci Turner of Tompkinsville,
Ky., penciled a 1-under-par final round to snag the title
by five strokes over Liebelei Lawrence of Bradenton, Fla.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic featured 101 players, 78 boys and 23 girls, ages 13-18, from 22 states, including 24 from the state of Georgia.
Spickard's celebration was delayed due to Grote's opportunity on the 18th hole. Grote missed his par putt, which would have forced a playoff.
The first-time AJGA event winner, carded rounds of 68, 68 and 71 for a total of 3-under-par 207. Although Spickard held the lead for most of the back nine, he did not feel comfortable.
"Yesterday I was putting well," the 17-year-old said. "Today, I was missing six, 10 and 12 footers. After a few of those you start thinking, 'I hope I don't miss.' I managed to mentally push myself through and finish well."
Second-round leader Grote recorded a final round 75 for a total of 209. Greg Forest of Palm City, Fla., placed third at 211, Brent Paladino of Kensington, Conn., tallied a 212 for fourth. In a four-way tie for fifth was Thomas Bethel of Nassau, Bahamas; Taylor Hall of LaGrange, Ga.; Ethan Maretich of Ringgold, Ga.; and Kaylor Timmons of Fort Payne, Ala., at 213.
In the Girls Division, Turner started her day with a goal of making 18 pars, but things changed on the seventh hole when she made birdie to move to 1-over-par for the tournament.
"When I made the birdie on seven, I felt I could push my score below par," said the 17-year-old. "I became aggressive on the eighth which cost me a double bogey. For the rest of the day I continued to try to make par."
The win was Turner's second career AJGA victory, her first coming at the Henry Griffitts Bluegrass Junior Invitational in Ashland, Ky.
Lawrence finished in second place with a three-day total of 216. In third place was Jessica Castle of Plantation, Fla., with a total of 220.
For more information on the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic or future AJGA events, contact the AJGA national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.