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COCA-COLA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP AT BOYNE HIGHLANDS
Boyne Highlands Resort -
Harbor Springs, Mich. • July 3 - 6
 

THOMPSON GOES DOWN TO THE WIRE TO TAKE VICTORY
Neff earns first American Junior Golf Association title; fires a 4-over-par 76 in final round

HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. — Matthew Thompson of Battle Creek, Mich., and Amiee Neff of Carmel, Ind., each claimed their first American Junior Golf Association victories in the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands Thursday. Thompson took the title in the Boys Division by a single-stroke, while Neff bettered the Girls Division by three-strokes.

The Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands was a 54-hole tournament presented by the American Junior Golf Association at Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, Mich. The 144-player field boasted 105 boys and 38 girls from 27 states and Canada.

Thompson opened with a front nine 3-over-par 39, but was able to recover and shoot an even-par 36 on the back nine that included an eagle on the par-5, 510-yard No. 13 for the second time in the tournament. Thompson also birdied the sixteenth-hole for the third consecutive day. He ended the day with a 3-over-par 75 and a tournament total of 213.

“Today was not as good as the last two,” Thompson said. “My driver was working well and I made some good putts.”

Playing in his third AJGA event, Thompson went into the final hole with a one-stroke advantage. Maintaining his composure, Thompson tapped in the winning putt to seal the victory.

“On the final hole I knew I had a one-shot lead,” Thompson said. “I had to go with my driver off the tee because it is my go-to-club. I was only nervous at the beginning of the round, I settled down towards the end.”

Finishing one-shot behind Thompson in second was Ethan Tracy of Hilliard, Ohio, with a tournament total of 214. Tied for third with 216s were Ohio-natives, Michael Cress of Dublin, and Bo Hoag of Columbus. Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division was Eric Mina of Fremont, Calif., who recorded a tournament total of 218.

Neff, who will graduate in 2007, went into the final round with a three-stroke lead. After opening with a bogey on the first hole, Neff found her rhythm when she made birdie on the par-3, 167 yard No. 8.

“I started off slow and struggled early,” Neff said. “The birdie on eight really helped to turn things around and I began to take one shot at a time.”

She then birdied No. 13 and made par on four of the last five holes en route to claiming her first AJGA title. Neff posted a final round 4-over-par 76 and finished with a tournament total of 230.

“I did not feel any pressure out there,” Neff said. “In fact, I like being on the big stage. I would have liked to have done better, but I was still able to get a positive experience out of this tournament.”

In second-place with a tournament total of 233 was Emily Childs of Alameda, Calif. Nicole Vandermade of Brantford, Ontario, placed third by registering a tournament total of 234.

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 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.

For more information about the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands please call National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.