TWO-HOLE PLAYOFF LEAVES BACK VICTORIOUS AT LONGBOW GOLF CLUB
Shin, victorious at Heather Farr Classic presented by Longbow Golf Club
MESA, Ariz.- The Boys Division of the Heather Farr Classic presented by Longbow Golf Club came down to a two-hole sudden-death playoff Sunday between James Back of Cerritos, Calif., and Ben Itterman of Carlsbad, Calif., with Back claiming the victory. In the Girls Division, Jenny Shin of Torrance, Calif., who held the lead after the first round, stormed from a six shot deficit to claim her second AJGA victory.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Heather Farr Classic presented by Longbow Golf Club was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Longbow Golf Club. The tournament field represented 96 boys and 48 girls, ages 12-18, from 14 states and three foreign countries. Twenty Rolex Junior All-Americans were featured in the field. The Boys Division played the par-71 course at 7,001 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at 6,150 yards.
At the end of regulation play, Back and Itterman were tied at 6-under-par 207. Both players made par on the first hole of the playoff after each hit his second shot into a greenside bunker. On the second playoff hole, the par-5 No. 18, each player's tee shot made the difference. While Itterman's drive went right and he was forced to take an unplayable, Back's drive striped the fairway, leaving him a solid lie for his second shot.
Despite the favorable lie, Back's second shot once again found its way into the greenside bunker. Both Back and Itterman were able to put their next shot to within feet of the flagstick, and Back sunk his three-foot birdie putt for the win.
“I felt comfortable during the playoff,” said Back, who led after the second round. “I think because I was able to stay calm, it made all the difference, especially after I got a little frustrated during my round.”
This is Back's second victory in Arizona, as he was also victorious at the PING Phoenix Junior last August.
Behind Back and Itterman, alone in third was Andrew Yun of Chandler, Ariz., with a 4-under-par 209. In fourth was Shane Lebow of Santa Barbera, Calif., carding a 3-under-par 210. Trey Kaahanui of Tempe, Ariz., and Mario Clemens of Beverly Hills, Calif., each carded a two-under-par 211 for a two-way tie for fifth.
Shin began the day six strokes back of the second-round leader, but emerged as a dark horse victor, three groups in front of the leaders, but claiming the victory by one stroke. With a final-round total of 3-under-par 68, and a tournament total of 6-over-par 219, Shin catapulted herself up the leaderboard.
Shin's drives were her forte today, as she hit fourteen fairways, giving herself multiple birdie opportunities. She took advantage of five, including each par-5 on the course.
“My birdie on No. 9 got me to two-under on the day,” the two-time first team Rolex Junior All-American said. “I hit my second shot to 10 feet and made the putt, and that was the turning point of my day.”
Though this is only Shin's second AJGA victory, the No. 4 ranked player in the Polo Golf Rankings has been making waves in junior golf for some time. At the age of thirteen, Shin became the youngest player to win the U.S. Girls Championship.
In a two-way tie for second with tournament totals of 7-over-par 220 were defending champion Kyung Kim of Chandler, Ariz., and 2007 Heather Farr Classic presented by Longbow Golf Club champion Kimberly Kim of Hilo, Hawaii.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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 Heather Farr Classic presented by Longbow Golf Club, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.