PUNTAWONG TORCHES HARGRAY FIELD WITH 65
FOR BOYS DIVISION WIN
Granada outlasts Park for Girls Division title
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Chanin Puntawong scorched
the Golden Bear Golf Club, tying a course record, with a final-round
65 for the Boys Division title in the AJGA Hargray Junior
Classic. Julieta Granada of Bradenton, Fla., out-dueled In-Bee
Park of Eustis, Fla., in the first hole of a sudden-death
playoff in the Girls Division on Friday.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Hargray Junior Classic at Golden Bear Golf Club at Indigo Run, featured 84 players, 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 13 to 18, from 17 states, Chile and South Korea, including nine from South Carolina. The tournament field also included 12 Polo Golf Junior All-Americans.
Puntawong, winning for the second consecutive week, entered the final round at 1-under-par 143, five strokes behind leaders Gin Kim of South Korea and James Dickey of Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Puntawong quickly advanced to 5-under-par through 12 holes and was unaware of where he stood on the leaderboard.
"I had no idea where I stood until I asked a rules official after No. 13," said the 16-year-old. "He said the leader was at 7-under-par and I knew I needed to play aggressively."
The leader at that time was Martin Ureta of Santiago, Chile, who finished in second at 7-under-par 209. Ureta had an opportunity to tie Puntawong, but missed his birdie opportunity, which would have forced a sudden-death playoff.
Puntawong (70-73-65-208) understood the situation Ureta was in. Last week, Puntawong sank a 15-foot birdie putt for the AJGA Henry-Griffitts Bluegrass Junior Invitational title.
"Last week was a harder situation because I had to make it happen. This week I had no control over how it was going to unfold," said Puntawong.
The final members of the top five of the Boys Division was Kim at 6-under-par 210 in third, Andor Pruitt of Cayce, S.C., at 3-under-par 213, and in a four-way tie for fifth was Mark Anderson of Beaufort, S.C., Nicholas Smith of Ocala, Fla., Ryan Hillstrom of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Ryan Leveque of Charlotte, N.C., at even-par 216.
Granada, a second-team Polo Golf Junior All-American, held a three-stroke advantage over Park through 16 holes, but missed a short par putt for the win on No. 18.
"I never miss short par putts like that," said 16-year-old Granada. "If I didn't win in the playoff, I knew I had played my best to get to this point."
Granada captured the title when Park, the reigning Polo Golf Junior Player of the Year, missed a short par putt and Granada sank hers.
"I knew if I played a shot at a time, I would give myself a chance for the win," said Granada.
Rounding out the Girls Division top three was Christie Reed of Coral Springs, Fla., at 7-over-par 223. For more information on the AJGA Hargray Junior Classic or other AJGA events, contact AJGA headquarters at (770) 868-4200.