PUNTAWONG CLINCHES TITLE
IN BATTLE AT BELLEFONTE
Wade defends title in Girls Division of Henry-Griffitts Bluegrass Junior Invitational
ASHLAND, Ky. - Chanin Puntawong of Bradenton, Fla., took the Boys Division title at the AJGA Henry-Griffitts Bluegrass Junior Invitational with a dramatic birdie on No. 18 to avoid a sudden-death playoff and record a tournament total of 2-under-par 208. Whitney Wade of Glasgow, Ky., successfully defended her title with a 54-hole total of 217 for a six-stroke margin on Friday at Bellefonte Country Club.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Henry-Griffitts Bluegrass Junior Invitational featured 120 players, 93 boys and 27 girls, ages 13-18 from 21 states, including 32 from the state of Kentucky. This was the 20th anniversary of the tournament being held at Bellefonte.
Puntawong entered the final round at 1-under-par, just one stroke behind leader Cale Barr of Versailles, Ky., and fell to even-par for most of the round until No. 15 when he chipped in for birdie.
"I thought the ball was going to be short," said the 16-year-old. "I was just trying to make par and move on."
The clinching moment during Puntawong's round on Friday was a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to avoid a playoff with Jarred Texter of Millersville, Pa., and Matthew Scytkowski of South Hadley, Mass., who each carded 1-under-par 209 for the tournament.
Puntawong's putt caught the left edge of the hole and rolled in for his third career AJGA title.
"I almost hit it too soft," said Puntawong, a third-team Polo Golf Junior Golf All-American. "It just caught the left edge of the cup and went in."
Texter and Scykowski each finished in a tie for second at 1-under-par 209, Barr notched an even-par 210 for fourth. Charlie Holland of Dallas, Texas carded a final-round 66 for a fifth-place finish at 2-over-par 212.
TheAJGA Henry-Griffitts Bluegrass Junior Invitational crowd was treated to a rarity on the 131-yard, par-3 third hole, as Ben Leong of Bradenton, Fla., sank his first career hole in one with a pitching wedge. He finished Friday with a 1-over-par 71.
In the Girls Division, Wade, a recent U.S. Women's Open qualifier, took a focused approach to her final round of 71.
"I tried to make par on each hole and not worry about what other players were doing," said the 17-year-old first-team Polo Golf Junior All-American. "It is special to win this tournament because I am from the area."
Marci Turner of Tompkinsville, Ky., and 2001 Bluegrass Junior champion, finished in second and Brittany Lincicome of Seminole, Fla., in third.
For more information on theAJGA Henry-Griffitts Bluegrass Junior Invitational, contact the AJGA national headquarters at (877) 373-2542.