SHANO HOLDS OFF COMPETITIORS FOR TWO-STROKE VICTORY
Park wins first AJGA tournament at Angel Park Golf Club
LAS VEGAS — As the leaders from the second round of the Boys Division went head-to-head in fierce competition at the Las Vegas Founders Junior Golf Championship Presented by Meadow Gold Dairy, it was Jason Shano of Scottsdale, Ariz., who moved to take the lead on the front nine and eventually the win, carding a tournament total of 206. Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., held onto her second-round lead in the Girls Division and improved her position by two strokes to finish 76-72-73—221.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Las Vegas Founders Junior Golf Championship Presented by Meadow Gold Dairy was held on the Mountain Course at Angel Park Golf Club. The field featured 63 boys and 20 girls, ages 12-18, from 13 states, with 33 of the juniors hailing from California.
After competing in the event last year, Shano said he felt comfortable coming into the tournament, noting two reasons for his improvement in performance.
“Experience and playing better,” he said. “It was a combination of those two.”
Shano gained confidence early in the tournament when he fired birdies on Nos. 2 and 3. However, it was the third birdie on No. 5 that aided in his 2-under-par finish on the front nine and 69 score for the day.
“I didn't know what anyone else in front of me was doing so I couldn't let my guard down,” Shano said. “I just tried to keep doing the same things, making putts and keeping the ball below the hole.”
The 17-year-old was excited about his first win and said he noticed what is unique to him about the AJGA.
“The reputation,” he said. “And having the best fields of any tournaments.”
Tied for second with 208 tournament totals were Gunner Wiebe of Aurora, Colo., and Justin Spray of Colorado Springs, Colo. Zachary Baker of Scottsdale, Ariz., took fourth with 209, while Austyn Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Robert Perrott III of Rio Rico, Ariz., finished in fifth with matching 210s.
In the Girls Division, 13-year-old Park, one of the youngest players in the field, notched her first AJGA victory despite nerves coming down the stretch.
“I had butterflies in my stomach for the whole round,” Park said. “But I birdied the first hole, and that gave me some confidence.”
Park said she has much to look forward to and anticipates playing in more AJGA events.
“I think it's the beginning,” Park said. “I'm really proud, I never thought I'd be able to do this.”
In the Girls Division, Elyse Okada of Kahului, Hawaii, took second with 227. Jasmine Chean of Irvine, Calif. came in third carding a 229 tournament total.
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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign counties.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
For more information on the Las Vegas Founders Junior Golf Championship Presented by Meadow Gold Dairy, contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.