AJGA AVILA JUNIOR CLASSIC
Avila Golf & Country Club
July 1-4, 2002
SMITH, PANDOLFI SURVIVE
RAIN DELAY FOR VICTORY AT AVILA Smith captures first AJGA tournament title
TAMPA, Fla. - Nicholas Smith secured his first American
Junior Golf Association title, firing a 4-under-par 68 final
round Thursday for a tournament total of 207 at the AJGA Avila
Junior Classic. In the Girls Division, Jennifer Pandolfi of
Navarre, Fla., notched her second AJGA victory, shooting 71
to finish at 4-under-par 212 for the tournament.
The Avila Junior Classic, held at the par-72 Avila Golf &
Country Club, was conducted by the American Junior Golf Association
and featured 84 players, including boys and girls representing
20 states, Mexico and Paraguay. Fifty-one players hailed from
the state of Florida.
Smith, a native of Ocala, Fla., carded six birdies on the
day, including two in a row on Nos. 4 and 5. Although Smith
finished the front side 2-under, the turning point in his
round came on the 402-yard, par-4 10th when Smith got up-and-down
from 40 yards past the hole to save par.
"My goal for the tournament was 70-70-70," the 15-year-old
said. "I would have been pleased with 6-under. But then
it just progressed as I went along."
Smith proceeded to birdie No. 12 before a rain delay stopped
play for more than three hours. After play resumed, Smith
tapped in a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 13 to move to 4-under
on the round. On No. 17, Smith sunk a 40-foot downhill putt
for birdie to secure the victory.
"That putt was unbelievable," said Smith, who only
missed three fairways for the round. "In the back of
my mind, I knew Will (Dottley) had a chance. But before it
was halfway there, I knew the putt was in."
The leader coming into the final round, Will Dottley of Madison,
Miss., carded rounds of 67-70-73 for a tournament total of
210 and a second-place finish. Scotty Campbell of Conway,
Ark., shot 71-71-72-214, good for third. In fourth place,
Tyler Rucarean of Gainsville, Fla., finished at 2-over-par
218. Rounding out the top five was Ryan Hillstrom of Ft. Lauderdale,
Fla., who finished at 220 for the tournament.
In the Girls Division, only two shots separated Pandolfi and
runner-up Julieta Granada going into the back nine. Granada
hit a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 to pull within one, and
on No. 12, Pandolfi missed a putt for par that evened the
score. The lead traded hands for the next four holes until
Pandolfi made a 6-foot birdie putt on No. 16 to even the score
Both Pandolfi and Granada had one hole remaining after the
rain delay, the 338-yard, par-4 18th. While Granada had to
get up-and-down for par, Pandolfi had a 35-foot putt for birdie.
Pandolfi drained the putt to claim the championship.
"I never make putts like that," said Pandolfi, who
fired 74-67-71-212. "At first, I thought, 'Just two-putt
this,' because I usually have problems with long putts. But
then I got up there, and I thought, 'Let's just make this.'
I put a great stroke on it."
Pandolfi cited her putting as the key factor throughout the
tournament. The 16-year-old finished with three birdies on
the day on Nos. 1, 16 and 18. Pandolfi's birdie on No. 1 was
her second on the hole for the tournament.
"I've come so close at tournaments the past few weeks,
and I just wanted to win this one so badly," Pandolfi
said. "From past experience, I know nothing is a gimmie.
I've blown up on the last few holes all year. Today, I just
tried to be aggressive."
A native of Bradenton, Fla., Granada captured the runner-up
position, recording rounds of 71-72-70 for a tournament total
of 213. Eight strokes behind her in third place was Polo Golf
Junior All-American Brittany Lincicome of Pinellas, Park,
Fla., who carded a 75-73-73 to finish at 221.
For more information on the AJGA Avila Junior Classic and
other tournaments conducted by the AJGA, contact AJGA National
Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.
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