Champaign Country Club
Champaign, Illinois
August 19-21, 2002

Grehan comes back from three shots down to claim victory

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Matt Savage of Louisville, Ky., secured his first American Junior Golf Association title, firing an even-par 71 final round Wednesday for a tournament total of 140 at the AJGA Callaway Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Champaign. In the Girls Division, Megan Grehan of Mamaroneck, N.Y., also notched her first AJGA victory, shooting 76 for the second day in a row to finish at 10-over-par 152 for the tournament.

The 36-hole Championship, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at the par-71 Champaign Country Club, was the final in a series of seven events in the Callaway Golf Junior All-Star Series. Eighty-three players, ages 13-15, from 28 states competed in the tournament, including 12 competitors from Illinois.

Savage carded four birdies on the day, including three on the front on Nos. 2, 6 and 9. The key in the 15-year-old's round came on the par-4, 388-yard ninth when Savage knocked his second shot to within a foot of the hole. Savage's birdie gave him a front nine score of 1-under 34.

"I started to lose my swing on No. 6," the sophomore-to-be said. "I was hitting balls way right on six, seven and eight. That birdie gave me more confidence in my swing. From then on, I was just trying to get in with pars."

On the back nine, Savage had to fight off both his nerves and his fellow competitors. Cornelius Carroll of St. Simons, Ga., pulled to within two shots of the lead through 16 holes. Although Carroll birdied No. 18 to trim the lead to one shot, Savage held on and made par on the final two holes to claim victory.

"I knew if I played well I could contend, but I was nervous coming in," Savage said. "I knew it was going to be close those last few holes. I missed a couple of short ones towards the end, and I was afraid I would be in a playoff. Luckily, I came out on top."

Carroll carded rounds of 70-71 for a tournament total of 141 and a second-place finish. Alex Zega of Louisville, Ky., posted 72-70-142, good for third. In fourth place, Heejoo Son of Carson, Calif., finished at 3-over-par 145. Rounding out the top five was Matt Fast of Hattiesburg, Miss., and Nathan Phan of San Diego, Calif., who finished at 146 for the tournament.

In the Girls Division, Grehan, who began the day in second place, got off to a rocky start with bogeys on her first two holes. At that point, the 13-year-old put her driver away and used her 3-wood for the rest of the round. The switch paid off as Grehan proceeded to birdie No. 4 to finish 3-over on the front side.

"I couldn't hit it straight on the first two holes," Grehan said. "I had to put the driver away, so I didn't hit as many greens. I figured it was better to be 10 yards short than 10 yards deep in the woods."

The turning point in Grehan's round came on the par-4, 320-yard 14th when she drained a 50-foot birdie putt to pull ahead of Jennie Arsenault, the leader after the first round. Grehan's victory came as a welcome change after finishing second twice this summer at the AJGA Callaway Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Colonial and the Lessing's AJGA Classic.

"I've been second place so many times this summer that I was starting to feel like Phil Mickelson," said Grehan, who fired 38-38-76. "Coming here, I really wanted to win, and I'm happy I achieved my goal."

A native of Grinnell, Iowa, Arsenault captured the runner-up position, recording rounds of 73-82 for a tournament total of 155. Mallory Blackwelder, of Versailles, Ky., finished one stroke behind Arsenault in third place at 78-78-156.

For more information on the Callaway Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Champaign and other tournaments conducted by the AJGA, contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.


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