WHITSETT SHOOTS FINAL-ROUND EVEN-PAR 72 TO CAPTURE ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Johnson fends off late charge in the Girls Division at Victoria National Golf Club
NEWBURGH, Ind. — Cory Whitsett, 16, of Houston posted a final-round even-par 72 and tournament total 2-under-par 286 to claim a five-stroke victory at the Rolex Tournament of Champions Friday. In the Girls Division, Jennifer Johnson, 16, of La Quinta, Calif., carded a 3-over-par 75 to win by two strokes.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Tournament of Champions was a 72-hole stroke play event held at Victoria National Golf Club. The 141-player field featured players from 26 states and seven foreign countries. The Boys Division played the par-72 Victoria National Golf Club at 7,169 yards, while the Girls Division played it at 6,375 yards. This year marked the 31st edition of the AJGA's flagship tournament. Past champions of this event include Esther Choe, Philip Francis, Charles Howell III, Jamie Lovemark, Phil Mickelson, Grace Park and Morgan Pressel.
Whitsett carded two birdies and two bogeys en route to his even-par 72, and attributed his success this week to a solid first round on a very demanding course.
“It was a very long week, especially in the mental capacity,” Whitsett said. “You could never really take a shot off. I really grinded in the first round which set me up well for the rest of the week.”
Jeffrey Kang of Fullerton, Calif., finished in second place with a tournament total 3-over-par 291. Andrew Yun of Chandler, Ariz., and Troy Anderson of Paradise Valley, Ariz., finished tied for third with four-round totals of 4-over-par 292. Second-round-leader Byeong-hun An of Seoul, South Korea rounded out the top five with a tournament total 5-over-par 293.
In the Girls Division, Johnson held a one-stroke lead entering the challenging par-4 18th hole, but calmly stuck her approach shot to three feet to seal the victory.
“I looked at the leaderboard on No. 16 and knew I had the lead,” Johnson said. “I just tried to play the final hole smart and the ball rolled out pretty nicely for me.”
Johnson held off a late charge by Doris Chen of Taipei, Taiwan and Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif., who finished tied for second place with four-round totals of 7-over-par 295.
Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Tournament of Champions, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
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 25 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989.
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 about the Rolex Tournament of Champions, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.