PING HARVEY PENICK JUNIOR
The Hills Country Club, Flintrock Falls Course
June 16-19, 2003
RANDLE OVERCOMES SELF, FIELD FOR WIN
Rollins closes AJGA career on high note
AUSTIN, TEXAS - In the first two rounds of the PING
Harvey Penick Junior, Michael Randle, of Austin, Texas, knew
he had not brought his 'A' game. In the final round, Randle
didn't leave anything on the course as he posted a 3-under-par
69 to win the Boys Division by two strokes Thursday.
In the Girls Division, Ashley Rollins, also of Austin, Texas, shot her second consecutive 3-over-par 74 to hold off a late challenge from Lauren Espinosa, of Irving, Texas.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Harvey Penick Junior consisted of 120 players from 16 states, including 98 from Texas, and Mexico. The tournament was contested at The Hills Country Club, Flintrock Falls Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus. The course played to a par-72 for the boys and par-71 for the girls
After shooting 73 in his first two rounds, Randle entered the final round trailing Honeck by five strokes. However, Honeck did not play as well as he did in the tournament's earlier rounds. Honeck faltered on the front nine with bogeys on Nos. 3, 7 and 8. Randle, on the other had, connected on three of his eight birdies on the front nine.
"I felt like the first two rounds I kind of left some out there," Randle said. "I was really focusing on taking it as deep as possible today, and I was able to play my best."
Unfortunately for Randle, his back nine was not as smooth as his front nine. Even though he had his round to 4-under-par for the round through the 12th, Randle set himself back with double bogeys on No. 13 and 14.
Yet, Randle refused to give in as he birdied Nos. 15, 16 and 17. He finished the tournament with a 1-under-par 215.
"I was able to capitalize on my opportunities," Randle said. "For some reason, I was able to hang in there, and just tell myself that I could keep fighting. Then I was able to make three birdies coming in."
Randle's birdie at the par-4 16th brought him into a three-way tie with Honeck and Lance Lopez, of Fresno, Texas. The tournament was then decided on the 17th. After Randle, who played in the group in front of Lopez and Honeck, birdied the hole, Honeck and Lopez did not achieve similar success.
Lopez found his ball in trouble to the right of the green. His chip hit a tree and forced him to bogey the hole.
After a lovely chip from off the front, Honeck had a birdie attempt, but the putt ran past the hole. Randle then made par on No. 18 to secure a two-shot victory.
Raul Lemus, of Mission, Texas, and Jace Moore, of Southlake, Texas, must receive credit as well for firing low scores. On a course that allowed few rounds under-par, Lemus carded a 68, and Moore shot a 69. As a result, both Lemus and Moore climbed into a second-place with Honeck and Lopez at 1-over-par 217.
Although the Girls Division did not have as dramatic of an ending, it was equally rewarding for Rollins.
"It's good," Rollins said. "I've had kind of a slow year this year and haven't done as well as I would have liked. So this means a lot."
With a three-shot lead entering Thursday's round, Rollins had easy sailing on the front nine, shooting a 1-under-par 34. However, as she had the previous two days, she struggled down the stretch. Rollins played the final four holes in 4-over-par, opening a slight window into which Espinosa could sneak.
However, it was not to be. Despite birding No. 15 and No. 17, Espinosa failed to record a birdie on No. 18, which would have forced a playoff. Espinosa finished in second place for the second consecutive week. She also earned second at the Randall Parker San Antonio Shootout presented by Parker's Express last week.
Qualifier medallist Alejandra Llaneza, of Mexico City, and Mallorie Underwood, of Montgomery, Texas, tied for third with a three-day total of 226.
Rollins said the PING Harvey Penick Junior was her last scheduled
AJGA event. If she were to receive an invitation to another
AJGA tournament, such as the Canon Cup, she said she would
accept it and play. Rollins still plans to play in the U.S.
Women's Amateur Qualifier in Houston, Texas, later this summer.
For more information on the PING Harvey Penick Junior, contact AJGA national headquarters at (877) 373-2542.