AJGA ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Chateau Elan Resort, The Legends and Chateau Courses
July 6-11, 2003
TODD CLAIMS FIRST AJGA TITLE IN A MAJOR
Park steals the show with eight-shot victory
BRASELTON, Ga. - After navigating through a round
with a number of ups and downs, Brendon Todd of Cary, N.C.,
claimed his first AJGA title at the AJGA Rolex Tournament
of Champions after carding a final-round 1-under-par 71 on
Friday. Todd's tournament total of 9-under-par 278 gave him
a two-shot victory over Brian Harman of Savannah, Ga.
In the Girls Division, In-Bee Park of Eustis, Fla., continued her stellar play from the third round as she raced away from the field after firing a 3-under-par 69. Park's tournament total of 2-under-par 285 left her eight shots clear of Hannah Jun of San Diego, Calif.
The 72-hole stroke play event, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, featured 169 juniors during the first two rounds, including 51 Polo Golf Junior All-Americans, ages 13-18, from 33 states and four foreign countries. The event was held at Chateau Elan Resort on The Legends and Chateau Courses. Play took place on The Legends and Chateau Courses Tuesday and Wednesday before the field was cut to 61 boys and 21 girls. The final two rounds were contested at The Legends on Thursday and Friday.
The AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions is the longest-running event on the AJGA schedule, now going into its 26th year. Past champions of the event include David Duval, Charles Howell III, Phil Mickelson, Beth Bauer and Grace Park.
Todd's victory turned out to be a well-earned one as he and fellow competitor Harman battled it out Friday. Through four holes, Todd was six shots clear of Harman and appeared to be on his way to an easy victory. However, the tables began to turn on the par-5 fifth when Todd hooked his tee shot out of bounds en route to a double-bogey seven. Harman took advantage, knocking his approach shot to within inches of the hole and tapping in for birdie, cutting the lead to three.
The two continued to trade barbs throughout the afternoon until Harman finally tied Todd at 7-under-par for the tournament after making a birdie on the par-5 14th. However, Todd rose to the occasion and recorded birdies on the 16th and 18th holes to ensure the two-shot victory.
"To finally win an AJGA tournament and have it be a major is really, really special," Todd said. "My goal was definitely to win. I like the course a lot and I had been playing really good."
Todd went on to stress the quality of golf that was played in the final round.
"It was a lot of fun. Brian and I are great friends," Todd said. "Yet again, he was a warrior and played to the last hole. Playing with him this Friday afternoon was special."
Harman recorded six birdies during his run, finishing the day with a 3-under-par 69 and a tournament total of 7-under-par 280.
Not to be forgotten in the mix was Daniel Im of La Habra, Calif. Im, who struggled on the front nine, recorded a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine to finish with a four-day total of 5-under-par 282. Benjamin Alvarado of Santiago, Chile, finished in fourth place with a tournament total of 3-under-par 284. Chris Kirk of Woodstock, Ga., rounded out the top five with a total of 1-under-par 286.
In the Girls Division, Park gave no one a chance to chip away at the five-shot lead that she held going into the final round. Last year's AJGA Rolex Girls Junior Championship winner and Polo Golf Girls Junior Player of the Year took advantage of consecutive birdies on hole Nos. 4 through 6, all but guaranteeing the eight-shot victory.
"I'm just very happy," Park said. "It gives me a lot of confidence going into the U.S. Junior Amateur."
Park, who on Thursday said that a score between even-par and 2-under-par in the final round would be a satisfactory performance, was able to go beyond her aspirations with a final-round 69.
"My putts went in today," Park said. "That's why I shot 3-under today. It was just better than yesterday."
However, Park did not record the low round of the round or the tournament. Jun's 4-under-par 68, which included seven birdies, gave her a tournament total of 6-over-par 293, enough to vault her into sole possession of second place. Jenny Suh of Fairfax, Va., rounded out the top three after firing a final-round even-par 72. Suh's 7-over-par 294 left her seven shots behind Park.
For more information on the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions, call national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.