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Abacoa Golf Club
Jupiter, Florida
July 7-10, 2003

Weintraub clinches Girls Division win after three-hole playoff

JUPITER, Fla. - Noah Goldman of Longwood, Fla., secured his first national junior golf victory at the Abacoa Junior Classic Thursday with a final round 2-under-par 70. In the Girls Division, Hagen Weintraub of Pembroke Pines, Fla., placed first after a three-hole sudden death playoff against Yu-Jin Bang of Bradenton, Fla.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Abacoa Golf Club, the event featured a field of 84 competitors. The tournament consisted of 54 holes of stroke play, with 57 players from the state of Florida participating.

Entering the tournament through a qualifier round held on Sunday, Goldman attributed his victory and low score to his consistent play throughout the week.

"I was playing for overall consistency," Goldman said. "I just tried to play my game to the best of my ability."

Despite the Abacoa Junior Classic being Goldman's first national victory, the 17-year-old still managed to handle the pressure with ease.

"I didn't think I would shoot low enough to qualify for the tournament," Goldman said. "But I felt up to the level of the other players. When I birdied the first two holes, I knew I was off to a good start, and even though I wanted consistency, I still tried for some of the longer shots."

Tying for second place at 1-under-par 215, Lanny Benson of St. Louis, Mo., and Matthew Galloway of Valrico, Fla., both attributed their finishes to solid putting.

"I didn't putt that well overall," Galloway said. "But I made the clutch putts when I had to. I just kept trying to stay consistent."

Galloway, who tied for 15th at last year's event, rebounded strongly at this year's event with rounds of 74-72-69.

"Last year, the ninth hole got me every time, but I played it much better this year," Goldman said.

Playing in his final AJGA tournament, Benson also entered the Abacoa Junior Classic through a qualifier playoff.

"Today everything started well," Benson said. "This is my best tournament finish; I was very excited to be in the tournament. I just wanted to put up some good numbers."

In the Girls Division, the 16-year-old Weintraub made several clutch putts to secure the three-hole playoff victory.

"I felt consistent all week, but today felt great," Weintraub said. "I under-clubbed a lot, but I would just try to hit the greens and make the putts."

Weintraub and Bang played alongside each other during round three and the playoff.

"I got along well with Yu-Jin," Weintraub said. "Having played with someone through 18 holes made me more comfortable and I felt calm going into the playoff."

Bang was also competing in her final AJGA tournament. Bang's second shot on No. 17 failed to get airborne, leaving the junior with a long approach shot, and a long putt to bogey the hole.

"I was too nervous after my 3-wood shot," Bang said. "I am not hitting my long ball straight and I only hit the drives about 210. I did hit my irons well, and I felt I played my best game today."

Christine Yum of Bradenton, Fla., took third place at 7-over-par 223.

For more information on the Abacoa Junior Classic or the American Junior Golf Association, call (770) 868-4200.