Toftrees Resort & Four Star Golf Club
State College, Pennsylvania
August 18-21, 2003

Sheary fires 232 to claim victory in first AJGA event

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - After his second shot on No. 18 came up short, Jimmy Markovitz of Bridgeville, Pa., was positive that he was going to have to go into a playoff. Instead, Markovitz chipped in for birdie to retain his one stroke lead and win. Natalie Sheary of West Hartford, Conn., played consistently with rounds of 77-77-78-232 to win in her first AJGA appearance.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole event was held at the par-72 Toftrees Resort and Four Star Golf Club. The field featured 89 players, ages 13-15, from 22 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. The field also included 24 Pennsylvania residents.

The Junior All-Star Series was started by the AJGA in 1998 with Ty Tryon winning the inaugural event in Kissimmee, Fla. The series has since grown annually and continues to feature top juniors from around the country, ages 13-15. In 2003 the series expanded to seven events with a championship being held over Labor Day weekend near Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

"Coming into this tournament, all I wanted to do was play well enough to get into the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Championship. As the week progressed, I wanted to win," Markovitz said.

Markovitz (72-69-71-212) carried a one-stroke lead into No. 18 but thought he had lost it when his second shot landed just short of the green.

"I thought it was on the green, but I also didn't realize that Mu Hu was that close," Markovitz said. Hu of Bradenton, Fla., landed his second shot within a foot of the hole.

"After seeing where my ball was and where Mu was, I was just hoping to get up and down for par and go to a playoff," Markovitz said.

But that didn't happen. Markovitz chipped in for birdie to hold on to his lead and walk away with the win. Hu tapped in for birdie to finish with a 3-under-par 69 for the round and finish second with a tournament total of 213.

"My iron play was going pretty good for me today. I hot some good shots that left me with some good putts," the 15-year-old said. Markovitz had four birdies on the day on Nos. 2, 13, 16 and 18.

Sheary used her consistent play to stay in the front of the Girls Division. She finished the first round with a 77, finishing two strokes behind Michele Grilli of Lutherville, Md. Sheary came back in the second round with another 77 to take a three-stroke lead over Alina Lee of Bradenton, Fla.

"I was really happy that I was able to play well and come into the final round with the lead. But I was also really nervous because I did not want to come out here and choke," Sheary said.

Sheary did not choke and came in with a 78 in the final round for a tournament total of 232. Grilli finished the final round with a 76 for a tournament total of 236.

"I was able to keep my drives in the fairway and go for the greens," Sheary said. "Because I was able to keep the ball in the fairway I was able to save a few strokes. Then my putting started to come around after the first few holes."

Sheary was really excited to be able to play in her first AJGA event and even more so to pick up her first win.

"Being able to play in an AJGA event is great but now I am really looking forward to being able to play in the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Championship," Sheary said.

Rounding out the top-five in the Boys Division are Hu with a 3-under-par 213 in second and Peter Uihlein of North Dartmouth, Mass., with even-par 216. Craig Cerbins of Portage, Wis., finished in fourth with a 219 while Chris Rockwell of Owings Mills, Md., comes in fifth with a 220.

Grilli finishes in second in the Girls Division with a tournament total of 236. Alina Lee of Bradenton, Fla., and Angela Oh of Maple Shade, N.J., finish in a tie for third with 237s.

For more information on the AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Toftrees Resort contact AJGA national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.


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