Hemmingway wins girls medalist honors by three shots


LAKE BLUFF, Ill. – Robert McNiff was 1-over-par after three holes at rain-soaked Lake Bluff Golf Club in the qualifier for the AJGA Windy City Junior, but played his final 13 holes in 4-under-par to win boys medalist honors by one shot over Cashel Rosier of Grand Ledge, Mich., and Robbie Kelley of Minnetonka, Minn.


In the girls division, Sara Hemmingway of Kingwood, Texas, shot a 4-over-par 67 to beat Katie Chang of Lisle, Ill., and Kathleen White of Waukegan, Ill., by three strokes.


More than two inches of rain fell in Skokie prior to the tournament, forcing tournament officials to eliminate hole Nos. 14 and 15 from the round, resulting in a par 63 golf course. Standing water also caused a two and a half hour delay to start the tournament.


Those conditions forced McNiff into hitting irons off tees, which he said helped because he was able to keep the ball in the fairways.


 “It was pretty wet, but I didn’t let it effect me,” McNiff said. “I just tried to keep the ball in play.”


Hemmingway also took the dry route by keeping her ball out of the rough.


 “I was keeping the ball in the fairways, and I think I hit all but four greens in regulation,” she said. “I wasn’t in the rough at all.


“The hardest part was putting. Nobody could sink a putt because of how wet it was.”


More than 100 players competed in the qualifier, with the low 11 boys and 3 girls earning exemptions into the AJGA Windy City Junior, June 14-17, at Winnetka Golf Club in Winnetka, Ill.


Boys who qualified were McNiff, Rosier, Kelley, Nick Pumford of St. Charles, Mich., Frank McAuliffe of Ann Arbor, Mich., Austin Ehlerfeldt of Beaver Dam, Wis., Joe O’Brien of Racine, Wis., Jordan Elsen of Kenosha, Wis., Ravi Patel of Naperville, Ill., Charles Bettendorf of St. Louis, Mo., Peter Lucey of Winnetka, Ill., James Byrd of Windemere, Fla., and Matthew Cemak of Chicago, Ill.


Girls who qualified were Hemmingway, Chang, White, Michelle Morgan of Muncie, Ind., and Laura Ashpole of Brookfield, Ill.


Players who qualified for the AJGA Windy City Junior don’t necessarily have to play in the tournament. McNiff, McAuliffe and Hemingway chose to accept an exemption into a future AJGA open tournament.


The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The largest association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.


Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.


AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Christie Kerr and Beth Bauer.


For more information about the AJGA Windy City Junior, please contact the AJGA at (847) 501-2050.


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