EDFORT TRIUMPHANT AT LESSING'S AJGA CLASSIC
Altomare takes home third AJGA win at Island Hills Golf Club
SAYVILLE, N.Y. — Alex Edfort of Somerset, N.J., walked off the No. 18 green twice Thursday at the Lessing's AJGA Classic. The first time, he stepped off knowing he was tied for the win with local golfer Michael Furci. The second time, following a one hole sudden-death playoff, he walked away with his first AJGA victory, having carded a tournament total of 5-under-par 208. In the Girls Division, Brittany Altomare was victorious after recording a tournament total of 3-under-par 210.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Lessing's AJGA Classic is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Island Hills Golf Club. The 97-player field features players from 15 states, the District of Columbia, Mexico and Canada. The Boys Division is being played at 6,469 yards, while the Girls Division is being played at 6,003.
Edfort, 16, a top-rated diver, began focusing primarily on his golf game in March and is already reaping the fruit of his labor. He began the day with a bogey on the par-4 No.1 and another on No.3. While he struggled on the front nine, carding a 1-over-par 35, he never let it deter him. He traded bogey for birdie four times to end the round at even-par 71 tied with Furci.
A sudden-death playoff began and ended on the par-4 No. 18 when Edfort hit his second shot to within five feet of the flagstick and sunk a birdie putt, while Furci made par.
“He (Furci) went left on his tee shot and I knew the door was barely open and I needed to capitalize on it,” Edfort said. “On that last putt, I knew as soon as I struck it that it was going in.”
In second, also with a 5-under-par 208 was Furci. Sitting one stroke behind Furci and Edfort was Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., with a 4-under-par 209. Yaroslav Merkulov of Penfield, N.Y. ended the event in fourth with a 2-under-par 211, while David Rohrs of Los Altos, Calif., and Andrew Kim of Lake Mary, Fla., walked away fifth, each having recorded a 1-under par 212.
Altomare began the day nipping at the heels of second-round leader Marisa Kamelgarn. The one-stroke deficit proved to be a springboard of motivation that propelled her into the lead. The picture of consistency, Altomare recorded nine straight pars on the front half. It was on the par-4 No. 10 that she marked her first birdie of the day. On the par-4 No. 16 she recorded her only bogey of the day, but quickly cancelled it out with a birdie on the par-4 No. 17. Her consistent play was crucial to her victory- her third in AJGA play.
“I came into today wanting to play my game and shoot somewhere around par,” said the 17-year-old, who is ranked 36th in the Polo Golf Rankings. “I've been playing pretty solid lately and so I felt really good about this tournament.”
Two strokes behind Altomare was Marisa Kamelgarn of Mahopec, N.Y., with a 1-under-par 212. Rounding out the top three was Kristen Allard of Porterville, Calif., with a 2-over-par 215.
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. 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 Lessing's AJGA Classic, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.