Presented by ClubCorp
Magnolia Grove Golf Club, Crossings Course
Mobile, Ala.
Aug. 29, 2002

Nine earn spots in tournament field

MOBILE, Ala. - Greg Gowen of Oxford, Miss., recorded back-to-back birdies on his final two holes to snag medalist honors with a 2-under-par 70. His spectacular finish enabled him to finish alone at the top of the scoreboard as he bettered the field by two strokes.

The 18-hole qualifier, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, allowed 67 boys from 14 states, including 13 from Alabama, the opportunity to earn nine spots in the AJGA Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior Classic, which runs from Aug. 30-Sept. 2.

Gowen, who started his day on No. 5, knew it would take a low round to earn a spot in the championship field. Twice before he tried to qualify for an AJGA event only to miss the cut by one stroke.

"I came in with no expectations," Gowen said. "I played pretty consistent and I think the only thing I could have done better was my putting."

Gowen, 16, drained a 25-foot birdie putt on his final hole after carding a birdie on the previous hole.

"I was able to leave on a good note. I bogeyed the two holes before those, so the birdies give me a little momentum and hopefully it will carry over."

The championship field will feature the premier junior golfers in the nation and Gowen knows he needs to stay focused to give himself a shot to contend.

"I have to go out there and try and do the same thing," he said. "There are a lot of good guys that are playing here that can shoot really low. I have to play my game and not worry about somebody else and let the chips fall."

Andrew Villarreal of Decatur, Ala., qualified with a round of even-par 72. Rui Takamatsu of Rowland Heights, Calif., and Stephen Strickland of Fairhope, Ala., earned spots with a 73 and 74 respectively. Chad Selzler of Osceola, Wis., Joong Jo of Winter Springs, Fla., and Daniel Kim of Cerritos, Calif., qualified with rounds of 3-over-par 75. Ryan Spears of Del City, Okla., and Kenny Kim of Cerritos, Calif., survived a one-hole, sudden-death playoff to snare the final two spots in the field.

The 54-hole tournament, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, will feature 166 juniors from 25 states, Mexico and Singapore. Sixteen of the participants call Alabama home. Past champions include PGA TOUR players Ty Tryon (2000) and David Gossett (1994) and LPGA tour player Beth Bauer (1995 '96).

First-round action in the Boys Division begins at 7 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 off the No. 1 tee at the Magnolia Golf Club, Falls Course and tee times will run until 11:57 p.m. Girls Division play begins at 7 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 off Nos. 1 and 10 tees at the Magnolia Golf Club, Crossings Course and tee times will run until 8:57 a.m.

For more information on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior Classic please contact our tournament headquarters at (251) 645-9565.

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