BURGETT H. MOONEY, JR. ROME CLASSIC
Coosa Country Club
August 14-17, 2003
OVERTAKES SUCHER ON 17TH HOLE, WINS BY ONE IN ROME
Wright wins at Coosa two years after qualifier disappointment
Ga. -- In a dramatic turn of events, Gator Todd of Florence,
Ala., overtook fellow Alabama native Zack Sucher of Mobile
on the 17th hole of the final round of the AJGA Burgett
H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic to earn his first AJGA title.
Heather Wright of Houston also found the AJGA winner's circle
for the first time, winning by a four-stroke margin in the
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic featured 99 players from 13 states, including 39 Georgia natives. The eighth-annual tournament, held at Coosa Country Club, consisted of three 18-hole rounds.
Holding a one stroke lead with two holes to play, Sucher committed a double-bogey on the par-3 17th to finish one stroke back of Todd. William Wilcox of Pell City, Ala., made six birdies and a bogey to finish tied at 206 with Sucher, nearly overcoming his five-shot deficit at the start of the final round. But Todd held steady with pars on Nos. 17 and 18 to win his first AJGA title by one stroke with rounds of 70-64-71-205-.
"I'm really relieved," Todd said. "I'm glad to get this day over with, it's definitely the biggest win I've ever had."
Todd opened the round with two birdies on the first three holes to take a two-stroke lead over Sucher. But the momentum swung in Sucher's favor on No. 6, where he made a birdie while Todd bogeyed the 201-yard par 3.
The Alabama natives remained tied at 11-under par through No. 11, but Todd fell one back on the 12th hole with a bogey. He then went birdie-bogey-birdie on the next three holes, while Sucher made a birdie and two pars to maintain a one stroke lead at 12-under par through 15. Two holes later, however, Sucher made the costly double-bogey that moved him back to even-par 72 for the round.
"Zach was beating me most of the day, I hate to win like that," Todd said. "He played great all day, but I made a key birdie on 15 and it turned everything around for me."
Todd's first win also set the 54-hole tournament record. His 205 total bested the 208 record set at last year's tournment by Chris Kirk of Woodstock, Ga. The rising senior has verbally committed to play golf next year for Alabama, where his father, Richard Todd, played football before going on to play quarterback for the New York Jets.
Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division were Justin Hare of Charleston, S.C., in fourth place at 208 and Tim Schaetzel of Atlanta in fifth with a 210.
In the Girls Division, Wright made her second visit to Coosa Country Club one to remember as she crafted rounds of 70-69-76-215 to finish 1-under par. Two years ago, the 18-year-old senior played in a qualifier for the Rome event and missed the cut by one stroke. This time around, she produced a four-stroke victory.
"I definitely wanted to come back to Rome," Wright said. "I was glad to be able to come back and win. I don't know what it was, but after I made my first birdie during the first round, I felt like I was going to win."
Wright's goal for the day was to maintain her five-stroke lead, which she nearly did despite a tough final round.
"I hung in there and was able to keep it to a four-stroke lead, even though nothing was really going well for me today," Wright said.
Sharla Cloutier of Niceville, Fla., and Christie Reed of Coral Springs, Fla., rounded out the top three in the Girls Division with three-day totals of 219.
Sunday's final round was played in a shotgun format in order to complete the tournament before inclement weather could arise.
For more information on the AJGA Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic, please visit ajga.org or call the AJGA's national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.