PARK, PERIVERSOFF CLAIM TITLES AT CALEDON
Course records lift champions to AJGA titles
BOLTON, Ontario - Nick Park of Ithaca, N.Y., and Joanna Periversoff of Hamilton, Ontario, held off their challengers in Friday's final round to earn their first AJGA victories at the AJGA BMO Financial Group Future Links Junior at Caledon Woods.
The 54-hole stroke play tournament, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, featured 99 of the top junior golfers from Ontario, Quebec and nine U.S. states at Caledon Woods Golf Club.
Through the first two rounds, Park and Periversoff built sizable leads in their respective divisions by firing course records. Park carried a five-stroke lead into the final round, thanks in large part to a men's competitive course-record, 5-under-par 66 in the second round. Periversoff carded a women's competitive course-record 71 in the first round and opened a seven-shot lead through the first two rounds.
Despite Park's five-shot advantage, the final round proved
to be dramatic as the 16-year-old's lead evaporated through
the front nine.
While Park carded a 4-over-par 39 on the front nine, Matthew McMahon of Brockville, Ontario, made three birdies to make the turn with a 3-under-par 33 and a one-shot lead.
On the 10th hole, however, Park reclaimed the lead by making birdie on the par-5 after McMahon, who was playing in the group ahead of Park, made bogey.
"My bunker shot on 10 pulled everything together," Park said. "I hit it to six inches and made a birdie."
With the momentum on his side, Park streaked through the back nine with a 4-under-par 32, eventually re-building his lead to five strokes over McMahon. When Park drove the green at the 359-yard dogleg 14th by cutting over the top of the trees, he added some padding to his lead.
"My drive on 14 was amazing," Park said. "I put it to five feet from the hole and made the putt (for eagle)."
By following the eagle with a birdie on the par-4 15th, Park started breathing easier.
"After my birdie on 15, I felt o.k.," he said. "I just tried to hold on for my life."
This time, Park did not let his lead slip away as he finished his round the way he started - with a five-shot lead after rounds of 73-66-71-210. McMahon earned runner-up honors at 77-67-71-215.
Billy Hanes of Elma, N.Y., and Greg Doherty of Mississauga, Ontario, tied for third at 218. Matt Halliday of Caledonia, Ontario, placed fifth at 219.
In the Girls Division, Periversoff's strong play early in the week proved beneficial as she never lost her lead. She carried a seven-shot edge into the final round and even though Mayumi Kobayashi of Santa Monica, Calif., trimmed it to three shots, Periversoff held steady with rounds of 71-79-82-232.
"I was thankful for that lead," she said. "It definitely made it easier when I got into trouble. There was less pressure."
With her victory, the 17-year-old Periversoff concluded a successful summer before returning to school next week. Earlier this summer, she captured the BMO Financial Group Future Links Ontario Championship, conducted by the Royal Canadian Golf Association.
"This is a good way to finish off my tournaments this summer," she said. "It's my best accomplishment of the year."
Kobayashi shot 76-83-76-235 to finish three shots back in second place. Anita Gahir of Thornhill, Ontario, finished four shots off the pace at 78-79-79-236.
For more information about the AJGA BMO Financial Group Future Links Junior at Caledon Woods, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.