AJGA GREATER HARTFORD OPEN JUNIOR CLASSIC
Hop Meadow Country Club
August 11-14, 2003
McLEAN TAKES FIRST AJGA
WIN ON FINAL HOLE IN SIMSBURY
Louth finishes six strokes ahead to prevail in Girls Division
SIMSBURY, Conn. - Jon McLean of Weston Fla., captured
his first AJGA title after carding a 2-under-par 214 in the
AJGA Greater Hartford Open Junior Classic. Kelley Louth of
Victoria, Texas, finished with a three-round total of 226
to hold her spot atop the Girls Division leaderboard.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole
event featured 100 boys and girls, ages 13-18, from 18 states
and Canada. The sixth annual event was held at the Hop Meadow
Country Club for its second year.
After making a double-bogey on No. 15, McLean thought he was
out of the running for the win. He, and three others, entered
the last four holes neck-and-neck for the top spot.
"After the double on No. 15 I was pretty upset with myself,"
McLean said. "I thought I had blown it but I told myself
it wasn't over. There were more birdies to be made."
McLean had five birdies on the day, as well as six bogeys
and a double.
"I came into this round thinking I was going to have
to shoot pretty low to win," the 17-year-old said. "Everyone
was playing really well and we were all going low. I just
had to try to stay focused. I figured things had to start
going well because they hadn't been in the beginning."
In a three-way-tie for second behind McLean are George Gandranata
of Bradenton, Fla., Andrew DiBitetto of Rochester, N.Y., and
James Lee of Indio, Calif. All finished the tournament with
Gandranata entered the event with hopes of gaining an invitation
to next year's AJGA Thunderbird International Junior. He has
one more chance for that invitation if he can win at the AJGA
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior Classic later this summer.
"I played really conservative today and never got nervous
at all," Gandranata said. "I actually played way
too careful and ended up slicing into the hazard on No. 18.
That led to bad second and third shots and I eventually made
a bogey that cost me the lead. But I'm happy with the way
I played this week."
DiBitetto also lost the lead on the No. 18 green. His highest
placing before this event was fifth at the AJGA Kroger Junior
Invitational last week.
"Coming into this I had a goal to finish in the top five,"
he said. "I wanted to play well and give myself a chance
to win. I'm going to go home and learn how to putt better
and hopefully win at New Seabury in a couple of weeks."
Lee came into the AJGA Greater Hartford Open Junior Classic
hoping to finish well and ended up tied for second.
"I did well the first two days," Lee said. "I
just have to practice more and work harder. Then I'll try
Louth lead the Girls Division through all three tournament
rounds and finished six strokes ahead of her competitors.
This is also Louth's first AJGA title. She lost in a sudden-death
playoff to finish second at the AJGA TaylorMade-adidas Junior
Classic at Bentwood this Easter.
"I played my own game this week and didn't try to be
too aggressive," Louth said. "I tried not to think
of the other girls and play my best regardless of how they
Louth attributes her success to her solid short game.
"I putted well on these greens," the 17-year-old
said. "I liked the how big they were. The rest of my
game fluctuated quite a bit, but winning feels great. This
is my last tournament of the summer so I definitely wanted
Meredith Godwin of Swarthmore, Pa., finished second after
shooting a three round total of 232. The 17-year-old had one
birdie on the day after making a 20-foot shot downhill on
"I thought No. 16 was going to be a good hole too,"
Godwin said. "I thought I hit a good iron shot right
on the flagstick, but it went over. I'm going to go home and
practice my iron shots since that is where I'm struggling
Godwin hopes to practice those shots to perfection so that
she can put a win under her belt at the AJGA Jeffery M. Isener
Memorial at New Seabury in two weeks.
"Eventually I hope I can play more consistently,"
she said. "My mental game needs work, but if I can fix
that I could play on tour some day."
For more information on the AJGA Greater Hartford Open Junior
Classic or any other AJGA event, contact tournament headquarters
at (877) 373-2542, or visit our Web site at ajga.org.