NIKE GOLF JUNIOR AT TOFTREES RESORT
Toftrees Resort & Four Star Golf Club
State College, Pennsylvania
August 9–12, 2004
SHEARY CONQUERS RAIN, REPEATS AS CHAMPION
Kelly claims first AJGA victory following sudden-death playoff
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – As the field battled constant rain showers throughout Thursday’s final round, Natalie Sheary of West Hartford, Conn., came out on top in the Girls Division, carding a 4-over-par 76 and repeating as champion of the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees Resort. In the Boys Division, 18 holes was not enough to break the tie between second-round co-leaders, William Miller of McMurray, Pa., and Timothy Kelly of Staten Island, N.Y., as a sudden-death playoff was necessary to decide a champion. In the end, Kelly came out on top.
The second installment of the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees Resort was a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The tournament featured 92 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-15, from 21 states and Canada. The Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series, created in 1998, is a collection of 10 events designed to give younger AJGA members an opportunity to play competitive golf.
The 15-year-old Sheary entered Thursday’s rain-soaked final round down four strokes to second-round leader Angela Oh of Maple Shade, N.J. Sheary grabbed her first lead of the tournament after the par-5, 460-yard eighth hole, at which she carded a par after pushing her tee shot into the hazard.
“I knew we (Sheary and Oh) were close after No. 7,” Sheary said. “When we both went into the hazard on No. 8, I knew that I needed to make a move. I somehow made par by draining a 20-foot putt while she struggled and scored an eight.
“I was really pumped up after that hole and knew that I could win.”
Sheary went on to score a birdie on No. 9 and never relinquished the lead the remainder of the round.
“It feels extremely good to come back and win,” Sheary remarked. “I’m glad that it reads my name as champion these past two years. I know that this win will help me in the future.”
Oh claimed second by finishing one-stroke back of Sheary with a tournament total of 230. Rounding out the top-3 in the Girls Division was Hilary Lawson of Gaithersburg, Md., who carded a final-round 74 to bring her tournament total to 232.
In the Boys Division, both Kelly, 15, and Miller, 15, brought their tournament totals to 223 following 54 holes of play. Kelly carded a par on the par-4, 361-yard 18th hole after getting up-and-down from a bunker, while Miller bogeyed to force the sudden-death playoff.
“I didn’t hit the ball too well today,” Kelly said. “I scrambled around all day but I was able to get up-and-down out of three bunkers and that saved me.”
In the sudden-death playoff on No. 18, Kelly carded his first birdie of the round by hitting a 9-iron from 130 yards out onto the green and sinking a 20-foot putt to claim victory.
“It feels really great to win,” Kelly remarked. “It’s a huge load off of my shoulders.”
Martin Bunt of Pensacola, Fla., carded a low-final round 71, bringing his tournament total to 224 and was the only player under par during Thursday’s round and tied for third place with Jed Dirksen of Hampton, Iowa. Morgan Hoffmann of Wyckoff, N.J., rounded out the top-5 by bringing his tournament total to 229 with a final-round 77.
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 AJGA has a 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.