MONNERVILLE GOES LOW ON BACK NINE TO WIN AT WINDSTONE GOLF CLUB
Stackhouse victorious in Girls Division at Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic
RINGGOLD, Ga. — Two first-time AJGA champions had to wait out Mother Nature, but ultimately were rewarded Thursday at WindStone Golf Club, as James Monnerville of Vero Beach, Fla., and Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale, Ga., took home the winners' trophies in the Boys and Girls Divisions, respectively. Monnerville finished the tournament with a three-round total of 7-under-par 203, while Stackhouse finished at 3-under-par 207.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic was a 54-hole stroke play event held at WindStone Golf Club in Ringgold, Ga. The tournament field consisted of 75 boys and 23 girls from 15 states and Venezuela, ages 12-18. The Boys Division played the par-70 WindStone Golf Club at 6,469 yards, and the Girls Division played the course at 5,797 yards.
Monnerville started the final round two shots back of second-round leader Sam Straka of Valdosta, Ga, and he was still two shots back after nine holes. This time, he trailed Kelby Burton of Evans, Ga., who played the front nine at 4-under-par 31. After the turn, Monnerville, 16, immediately started making up ground by making birdie on the 370-yard par-4 No. 10. He stayed hot by rolling in birdies on Nos. 12 and 15 and then surged to a three-stroke lead with his fifth birdie of the day on the 525-yard par-5 No. 17.
After his birdie on No. 17, Monnerville had to sit for over an hour on his three-shot lead when storms descended on Ringgold and play was suspended. Ultimately, the players were able to return to the course to finish the tournament, and Monnerville battled nerves and a bad approach shot to clinch his championship.
“I knew at the 18 tee I had a three-shot lead, and the approach shot was more nerves than anything else,” Monnerville said, adding tapping in his last putt on the 18th green was “The best feeling of the day.”
Tied for second at 4-under-par 206 were Payne Denman of Riverwatch, Tenn., and Straka, while Burton finished in fourth at 3-under-par 207. Zach Estep rounded out the boys' leaderboard in fifth at 1-under-par 209.
Stackhouse displayed a killer instinct Thursday, as her 4-under-par 66 clinched a wire-to-wire victory for the 15-year-old. She credited her putter for holding off Shannon Aubert of Orlando, Fla., as well as the rest of a talented field of girls.
“Well, I had three birdies in a row on the back nine, and after that it was pretty much like I was confident with my putter,” Stackhouse said. “I would step up over it and be like, ‘You know, you're gonna make this putt,' and I think that's important. You have to have that confidence putting, and with those three birdies in a row everything just kind of went uphill from there.”
Aubert slotted in behind Stackhouse at 1-under-par 209, and Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., finished in third at 2-over-par 212.
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 Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic, please call AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.