KINNEY AND LUA CLAIM VICTORIES AT FUTURE LEGENDS
Boys Division decided in five-hole playoff
Wales, Wis. — Joe Kinney of Antioch, Ill., survived a five-hole playoff in the final round of the Future Legends against Jordan Elsen of Kenosha, Wis., to capture the Boys Division title. In the Girls Division, Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., secured first place with a final round 2-over-par 73 for a tournament total of 216.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Future Legends is a 54-hole stroke play event held at The Legend at Brandybrook. The tournament featured 64 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18, from 14 states, including 31 from Wisconsin.
In the final round, Kinney shot a 3-over-par 74 while Elsen carded a 7-over-par 78 to tie at 218 for the tournament. Of his playoff strategy, Kinney said he wanted to give himself opportunities to make birdie. The pair went head-to-head on the first four playoff holes. On the tee of the fifth, Kinney drove his ball into the water, but stuck his third shot to within five feet of the hole and tapped in for par and the win.
Kinney, 18, started the round four shots off the pace but felt it was essential to play consistently in the stronger winds. His 74 included a 37 on the front nine and a 37 on the back side. On the par-5 15th hole, he reached the green in two to make birdie and boost his momentum heading to the final holes.
“When the wind gets up, scores aren't too low,” he said. “On days like this, I try to make as many pars as I can. I kept the ball in play and didn't get in trouble.”
The win is Kinney's first AJGA victory. Elsen's defeat left him alone in second place, while DJ Schultz of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., shot a 1-over-par 72 for a tournament total of 219 and sole possession of third place. Austin Ehlenfeldt of Beaver Dam, Wis., and Kyle Parsons of Wethersfield, Conn., tied for fourth after shooting 5-over-par 76s for tournament totals of 223.
Lua, who began the round tied for first place with Jennie Arseneault of Grinnell, Iowa, knew that playing patiently would be the key to shooting a low round. Her 73 featured a 37 on the front nine and a 36 on the back side, with 14 pars total.
“I tried to play steady and patient today, and that seemed to work,” Lua said.
Lua said she had trouble judging club distance and felt shaky on the front nine. A birdie on the par-4 11th hole gave her confidence after the turn, and she felt more comfortable on the back nine. The win is her second AJGA victory. In 2004, Lua won the pre-season Ashworth Junior at Hot Springs.
Arseneault shot a 10-over-par 81 for a tournament total 224 and sole possession of second place. Emily Johnson of Warsaw, Ind., shot an 8-over-par 79 to finish in third place with a three-day total of 228.
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, the largest Association of its kind, has a junior 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.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information about the Future Legends, please call AJGA headquarters at (770) 868-4200.