HAN EDGES OUT MONTE TO WIN FIDELITY INVESTMENTS JUNIOR CLASSIC
Altomare returns to local course to win Girls Division by six strokes
BOYLSTON, Mass. — Ren Han of Richmond, British Columbia, won his first American Junior Golf Association tournament by one stroke over Joe Monte of Chantilly, Va., to end the tournament even par at 216. Brittany Altomare of Shrewsbury, Mass., was cheered on by a local crowd as she posted a 9-over-par 225 to capture the Girls Division title.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic was held at the Cyprian Keyes Golf Club. Eighty-four junior golfers from 19 states, British Columbia and Ontario, including 18 participants from Massachusetts, competed in the 54-hole stroke play event.
Although golfing in different groups, Han had Monte in his sights all day. Han said he never officially knew Monte's score, but knew he was doing well.
On No. 18, Han hit his second shot from the fairway into the right bunker off the green. He was able to hit out of the bunker to within one foot of the hole and made the putt for birdie. Unaware that Monte had made a double bogey on his last hole, Han thought he was in second place.
“I was surprised,” he said. “I didn't know I had won. I'm excited.”
Han ended the round with an eagle on No. 4, three birdies on Nos. 6, 10 and 18, and hit 11 of 14 fairways and 10 greens.
“When a person gets nervous, it's hard to putt well, so you have to hit a lot of greens,” he said.
In third place with a 2-over-par 218 was Daniel Mayer of Winter Park, Fla., followed by Evan Harmeling of North Reading, Mass., in fourth place with a 4-over-par 220. Nick Pokora of Agawam, Mass., finished fifth in the Boys Division with a 6-over-par 222.
Altomare said the Cyrpian Keyes Golf Club was her home course when she first started playing golf, which helped her with her shot placement. She went 3-over-par on the front nine and saved her only birdies of the round for Nos. 16 and 17. Although she was never in the lead during the first two rounds of the tournament, she said she never doubted she could do well.
“My putting has gotten so much better since the beginning of the year,” she said. “I thought I could win from day one; I kept shooting lower scores each day.”
As a rising freshman, Altomare said she liked playing the final round in the leader group and did not think about the fact that she was one of the youngest players in the field.
“I have a lot of confidence in myself and don't think about age. I just try to stay focused on my game,” she said.
In a three-way tie for second place at 15-over-par 231 are Kate Durnan of Mendham, N.J., Whitney Neuhauser of Barboursville, Va., and Natalie Sheary of West Hartford, Conn.
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 Fidelity Investments Junior Classic, call national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.