WINTHER WINS BY FIVE AT INAUGURAL AJGA CLIFFS CHAMPIONSHIP
Park comes from behind to win Girls Division at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls
SALEM, S.C. — Patrick Winther of Rungsted Kyst, Denmark, shot a final round 2-under-par 70 to win the AJGA Cliffs Championship by five strokes. Annie Park of Levittown, N.Y., recorded a 5-under-par 67 to win the Girls Division Sunday.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Cliffs Championship was a 36-hole stroke play event held at The Cliffs at Keowee Falls. The tournament field consisted of 51 boys and 27 girls, ages 12 to 18, from 18 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Northern Ireland and Denmark. The Boys Division played the par-72 layout at 6,808 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at 5,969 yards.
Going into the final round leading by two strokes, Winther carded a bogey-free front nine to make the turn with a 1-under-par 35. The 15-year-old recorded five birdies on the day to finish with a tournament total of 8-under-par 136 and his first AJGA victory.
“I knew I was playing well and didn't think at any time I was going to throw it away,” Winther said. “I just kept thinking to hit the fairways and get some birdies. I was calm the whole way.”
Logan Harrell of Huntersville, N.C., finished in second at 3-under-par 141. Rounding out the Boys Division leaderboard were Michael Murray of White Lake, Mich., Michael McGowan of Southern Pines, N.C., and T.J. Vogel of Cooper City, Fla., who tied for third with totals of 1-under-par 143.
Park, who came into the final round in second place, recorded six birdies on her way to a three-stroke win at 5-under-par 139. The 13-year-old is surprised to win an AJGA event at a young age and credits her win to thinking about what was in front of her and not her score.
“I just kept thinking to finish the race and remember that the game was never over,” Park said. “This gives me a lot of confidence to win against such great players. It means a lot and it's a big tournament to get my first win at.”
Also near the top of the Girls Division leaderboard was Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale, Ga., in second with a total of 3-under-par 141. Austin Ernst of Seneca, S.C., finished in third with at 1-under-par 143.
After Saturday's first round, The Cliffs Communities donated $5,000 to the AJGA's Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant. This is in addition to the monies raised during Friday's Junior-Am Fundraising Tournament, which paired local amateur golfers with one of the talented juniors competing in the 36-hole weekend championship. As a result of the AJGA Cliffs Championship Junior-Am, Zest Quest, Linking Girls to Golf and the ACE Grant shared $20,000.
The Cliffs at Keowee Falls is the second Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and one of eight courses in The Cliffs' collection. Located at the southernmost edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, on the shores of Lake Keowee, the 160-acre Keowee Falls golf course features rolling, mountainous terrain and spectacular views and marries a challenging par-72, 7,171-yard layout with the incomparable aesthetics of a pure, core golf experience.
Named the “World's Best International Development” by the CNBC International Property Awards, The Cliffs is a collection of eight luxury communities in the Carolina Preserve, a region that enjoys a mild, four-season climate and encompasses hundreds of thousands of acres of protected parklands at the southernmost edge of The Blue Ridge Mountains between Asheville, N.C., and Greenville, S.C. The Cliffs are known for their renowned golf course designs and a unique membership that offers an unequaled variety of amenities, programs, services and opportunities in the Carolinas as well as at The Cliffs' destination properties around the world. Founded on enduring principles of stewardship, their communities create an atmosphere of conservation, philanthropy and wellness that results in a partnership between The Cliffs' associates and property owners.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 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, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information on the AJGA Cliffs Championship, please call AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200 or visit the AJGA Web site, ajga.org.