Slammer & Squire at World Golf Village
St. Augustine, Florida
July 8-11, 2002

Wade captures third AJGA victory this season

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Garrett Runion fired 3-under-par 69 Thursday, surviving a sudden-death playoff to capture his first American Junior Golf Association title at the AJGA Shell World Golf Village Junior Championship. In the Girls Division, Whitney Wade of Glasgow, Ky., notched her third AJGA victory this season, shooting a final-round 77 to finish at 6-over-par 222 for the tournament.

The Shell World Golf Village Junior Championship, held at the par-72 Slammer & Squire at World Golf Village, was conducted by the American Junior Golf Association and featured 84 players with boys and girls representing 15 states. Fifty participants hailed from the state of Florida.

After 54 holes, Runion, a native of Windermere, Fla., was in a four-way tie for first place at 215 with three others: Beau Glover of Sherwood, Ark., Steven Crolic of Jacksonville, Fla., and Tommy Suri of Miami, Fla. Runion and Glover pared the first playoff hole, No. 18, to keep the tie alive. On No. 1, Runion hit his second shot to within 15 feet of the hole, while Glover found himself in the bunker to the right of the green. Runion pared the hole to claim the championship.

"I think the nerves definitely kicked in out there," said Runion, who posted rounds of 72-74-69. "I was actually pretty calm. I played the play-off holes better than regulation. I was surprised par made it. I thought for sure I'd have to make a birdie to stay in."

The turning point in Runion's round came on the par 4, 426-yard fifth, where Runion holed-out his second shot from 184 yards for eagle. The 18-year-old finished the front nine at 34 and carded three birdies on the back nine, including back-to-back birdies on Nos. 11 and 12, to post the low round for the day.

"That eagle got me on a roll," said Runion, who entered the final round tied for ninth place. "I just played solid golf today. I didn't have to scramble as much."

Glover, Crolic and Suri all finished in a tie for second with a tournament total of 215. Glover fired rounds of 71-75-69, while Crolic posted 71-73-71. The leader coming into the final round, Suri carded rounds of 69-71-75. Rounding out the top five at 216 was Moises Cobo of Bradenton, Fla., and Cornelius Carroll of St. Simons, Ga.

In the Girls Division, Wade and runner-up Nicole Hage were tied for first place going into the final hole. Wade had struggled on No. 18, carding double bogey and bogey during the first two rounds. On Thursday, however, Wade hit her second shot to within 30 feet of the hole and two-putted for par. Hage, on the other hand, missed a 7-foot par putt, which put her a shot behind Wade in second place.

"I was a little scared going into that hole," said Wade, who fired 74-71-77-222. "I haven't had a good hole there this week, and I knew I couldn't do that again this time."

Although Wade had difficulties putting, the 16-year-old finished the final round with birdies on Nos. 3 and 8. Wade said the key throughout the tournament was working the greens.

"I putted well the last two days, but today I probably had five or six three-putts," said Wade, who has verbally committed to play golf at the University of Georgia. "Some of these greens are tough if you get yourself in trouble."

Two Polo Golf Junior All-Americans, Hage and Lisa Tyler, tied for the runner-up position at 223. A native of Coral Springs, Fla., Hage finished with 74-75-74-223. Tyler, from Lighthouse Point, Fla., carded the low round of the day in the Girls Division, a 1-under-par 71, recording rounds of 76-76-71.

On a special note, Claire Flexer of Brunswick, Ga., had her first hole-in-one Thursday. The 17-year-old aced the par-3, 143-yard seventh hole with a 9-wood. This was the second hole-in-one of the tournament.

For more information on the AJGA Shell World Golf Village Junior Championship, contact AJGA national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.


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