O'NEILL WEATHERS THE STORM TO PICK UP VICTORY IN PLAYOFF
Johnson goes wire-to-wire for victory at Dornoch Golf Club
DELAWARE, Ohio — Peter O'Neill of Carmel, Ind., claimed victory at the Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament on the first hole of a rainy two-man playoff after carding a final round 3-under-par 68. In the Girls Division, Jennifer Johnson of Carlsbad, Calif., picked up a three-stroke win after a 1-under-par 212 tournament performance.
The Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament was a 54-hole tournament presented by the American Junior Golf Association at Dornoch Golf Club in Delaware, Ohio. The 95-player field boasted 71 boys and 24 girls from 12 states, Canada, Mexico and India.
O'Neill stepped onto the 18th tee as the skies darkened and rain began to fall knowing he needed a birdie to win outright or a par to tie. It would be over an hour before he would be able to hole-out for par and force a playoff with Adam Sumrall of South Bend, Ind., due to a weather delay. Before the playoff could begin though, both players had to wait out the second weather delay of the day. Once play was able to resume, Sumrall found trouble off the tee and was forced to take an unplayable lie penalty-stroke. O'Neill, who was safely in the fairway, knew he would need only to par again for the win. Standing over the putt for par, he knocked it confidently in the back of the cup to seal victory. O'Neill finished the tournament with a total score of 205.
“I played pretty solid and kept the ball in play all day,” said O'Neill. “Even though I knew I had two putts for the win, I could still feel the pressure over the putt. It means a lot to win this week; it really redeems some of my bad play from earlier in the summer.”
Finishing in second was Sumrall with a tournament total of 205 and in third was Ethan Tracy of Hilliard, Ohio, after posting a three-day total of 208. Tied for fourth-place were Timothy Madigan of Rio Rancho, N.M., and Matthew Stauch of Dublin, Ohio, with a three-day total of 209.
Johnson came into the day with a two-stroke lead and a goal to play conservative golf all day, hoping if she could just hit fairways and greens it would be enough to win. With seven holes of play completed and bogeys on Nos. 2 and 6, she found herself one shot down to the surging Sarah Thead of Poway, Calif., who was 1-under-par to that point. Johnson then refocused and found her game as she recorded birdies on Nos. 8 and 10 to regain the lead for good. She finished the day with a three-stroke cushion and picked up her first AJGA win of the summer and third of her career.
“I hit a lot of greens today and my putting was really good,” said Johnson. “To win here really helps my confidence for the rest of the summer and shows my hard work is paying off.”
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 Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament, please call National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.