Fiona Xu of Mount Roskill, Auckland, New Zealand, won her first AJGA event at AJGA Lake Las Vegas Junior hosted by Danielle Kang. However, if it was not for her success in the qualifier Xu would never have had the opportunity to shine in the tournament.
In the AJGA Qualifier for the Lake Las Vegas Junior hosted by Danielle Kang, Xu carded six birdies with a bogey-free back nine to secure her qualifying spot. The 14-year-old was one out of five girls to advance to the three-round tournament.
In the tournament Xu was a dominant force throughout all three rounds, never losing her place at first. Carding 14 birdies and one eagle she ended the final round with a 10-under-par 206, three strokes ahead of the field. When asked what the win means to her, she noted, “The win means a lot. For my first win to be at an AJGA event, it means the world to me”.
Xu has competed in three AJGA events within the past two years. She was a previous award winner at the 2018 AJGA Junior All-Star at Wood Ranch where she placed second.
Drew Salyers of Howard, Ohio, won the Justin Thomas Junior Championship by four-strokes in the Boys Division. However, the 17-year-old did not take the short route to claim his first AJGA victory.
With a spot in the Justin Thomas Junior Championship Qualifier, Salyers fought his way to the top to tie for first with Evan Woosley-Reed. Sinking six birdies in the qualifying round, Salyers carded a 1-under-par 70, earning him one of the eight positions available in the weekend’s tournament. With an 18-hole round of practice and his name now in the tournament field, he had a chance to prove his skills in competition.
Salyers worked his way up the leaderboard carding five birdies to finish with a 3-under-par 68 in his first round. Starting off the front nine of his final round with even-par, Salyers held a safe position going into the back nine. By holing three birdies and an eagle on the back, he finished 5-under-par carding a round total of 66 to secure the championship title. As a champion and a top-five finisher in the tournament, Salyers is now fully exempt for the remainder of the year in the AJGA’s tournament schedule. Salyers has played in four AJGA events, with two top-10 finishes, a first win at the 2019 Justin Thomas Junior Championship and now is No. 19 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Mi Li, of Beijing, China, was one of four girls to qualify for the AJGA Junior at Saddlebrook, earning a spot in the tournament she would end up winning.
Carding three birdies with a bogey-free back nine, Li ended the first round tied for third with six girls standing between her and the lead. The 13-year-old never let up, ending the second round tied for second and eventually the solo leader by the end of the final round. With a tournament total of 1-over-par 214, Li finished four strokes ahead of the field claiming her well-earned victory.
Saddlebrook was Li’s first AJGA win, along with a previous top-five finish at the Foley Performance Academy @ EaglesDream Junior All-Star where she placed 4th.
Qualifier Information: The AJGA Qualifier Series is one of the best ways for members to get started with their AJGA playing career. AJGA Qualifiers provide valuable opportunities to earn Performance Based Entry status and progress into AJGA Junior All-Star and Open Tournaments.
AJGA members should apply to AJGA Qualifiers during the application window which begins the Friday after the corresponding tournament application deadline at 3 pm ET and runs through Monday, Noon ET. The order applications are received has no effect on the AJGA Qualifier field. However, players must apply within this window to be considered for the initial field. Players who apply after this point may be placed on an alternate list, after those who applied during the application window, in the order they are received.
Please Note: Players who apply to AJGA tournaments and do not gain entry are NOT automatically moved to the AJGA Qualifier for that tournament. They must submit a separate AJGA Qualifier application.
Space permitting, non-members may apply one week following the AJGA Qualifier application opening to AJGA members. For information on obtaining an AJGA Non-Member ID click here.