SANTA MARIA NATIVE BLYSTONE HOLDS THE LEAD TO WIN HIS FIRST AJGA EVENT
Baraquiel comes from behind to win the Girls Division at Golf World Preseason Junior at Marshallia Ranch
VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. — Chris Blystone of Santa Maria, Calif., carded a final round 1-under-par 71 for his first junior golf victory at the Golf World Preseason Junior at Marshallia Ranch. Sunshine Baraquiel of Chatsworth, Calif., was victorious in the Girls Division with a 73-78 — 151.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Golf World Preseason Junior at Marshallia Ranch featured a field of 96 boys and girls, ages 12-18, from seven states and Canada. The 36-hole stroke play event was played at the par-72 Marshallia Ranch Golf Course, which hosted an AJGA event for the eighth consecutive year. The Boys Division played the course at 6,771 yards while the Girls Division played it at 6,071 yards.
The Golf World Preseason Junior at Marshallia Ranch was one of eight events being held as part of the Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series. The Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series is a series designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet been accepted to or participated in an AJGA event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year.
Blystone, 17, knew his game had to be top notch with the frigid winds blowing throughout the back nine. He carded four birdies in the first round, and four more in the final round, helping him to a two-day total of 3-under-par 141.
“I had to keep my composure out there,” Blystone said. “I knew I had to play smart and not give anything away. There was a lot of talent in the group I was playing with and they were putting a lot of pressure on me to play my best game.”
Jay Hwang of San Diego, Calif., carded a 74-69 — 143 for second place. Allan Jun of Oceanside, Calif., finished in third place with a 4-over-par 148. Jeff McNeil of Nipomo, Calif., finished with a tournament total of 150 for fourth place. Rounding out the top five of the Boys Division were Eric Sugimoto of San Diego, and MJ Morin of Bakersfield, Calif., with 7-over-par 151s.
In the Girls Division, Baraquiel was one stroke behind at the start of the final round, but her consistent play led her to her first career AJGA victory. Right before making her turn, Baraquiel birdied No. 17 with one of her best shots of the weekend. Inspired by the words from her coach, Baraquiel said she knew how to play with the gusty winds.
“I had a great start today; I was feeling really good out there,” Baraquiel said. “I was having so much fun out there. That is until I reached my final three holes when I shot bogey, double bogey, bogey; that is when my nerves were really tested.”
Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division were Mikayla Harmon of Gilbert, Ariz., and Elisabeth Bernabe of Anaheim Hills, Calif., who carded tournament totals of 8-over-par 152.
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, 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.
Golf Academy of America, with campuses located in San Diego, Phoenix, Orlando and Myrtle Beach, is the oldest and largest two-year golf career college in the world. GAA's 16-month program balances classroom studies, practical experience and comprehensive understanding of the business of golf. For more information, call 800-342-7342 or visit http://www.golfacademy.edu.
For more information on the Golf World Preseason Junior at Marshallia Ranch, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.