Newsmakers: February 25, 2009

Junior Round-up

Current members Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., and Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., were granted sponsor’s exemptions into the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. Thompson is currently ranked second in the Polo Golf Rankings, having won the Verizon Junior Heritage in February. Johnson, winner of the 2008 Rolex Tournament of Champions, is a 2009 graduate and currently ranked No. 6 in the Polo Golf Rankings.

Amanda Blumenherst, Tiffany Joh, Azahara Munoz, and Candace Schepperle were the other amateurs to receive sponsor's invitations.

The tournament will be played April 2-5 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club, home of the ClubCorp Mission Hills Desert Junior.

College Round-up

Texas A&M finished strong to come away with victory at the John Burns Intercollegiate last weekend, with four of five players shooting in the 60s. The Aggies closed with a 16-under-par 272 on Friday for a three-stroke victory over the University of New Mexico.

James Erkenbeck of New Mexico took home the honors with a three-round total of 11-under-par 205. Tarquin Macmanus of Arizona, James Kwon of SMU, Andrew Landry of Arkansas, Cole Moreland of Auburn, Jordan Hammer of BYU, Bronson Burgoon of Texas A&M, Daniel Wax of Denver, Tyler Neal of Arizona, Ethan Tracyof Arkansas, Jake Yount of San Diego, Jay Myers of SJSU, Scott Smith of Nevada, Steve Saunders of New Mexico, and Zen Brown of Colorado St. all finished in the top 10.

Erkenbeck was named Golfweek’s Men’s College Player of the Week.

The University of North Alabama golf team easily dominated the field to win the Pizza Hut/AT&T Classic Monday in Chowta, Miss. They defeated Tennessee-Martin by 24-strokes.

David Gies II from the University of North Alabama carded a 74-72 – 146 to give him a one-stroke victory over his teammates Jake Greer and Tyler Chandler.

Wes Smith and Alex Hirai of Northern Alabama, Matt Stephens and Bradley Stevens of Tennessee-Martin, Clint Suggs of Lipscomb, and Jake Heatherly and Jared Dunn of Tennessee Tech round out the top 10.

Mauricio Azcue, a freshman at UCLA, received a sponsor’s exemption into the Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun being held this weekend. The tournament is played at El Camaleón Golf Club, which has been home to the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic for the last two years.

St. Leo University came away with a win at the Ann Rhoads Shootout in Calera, Ala., Monday. The Lions’ first-ever win came after their head coach had to return home for a death in the family. Interim Swim Coach Kathy Lavery was asked to step in and helped the team to victory over Berry College by three shots.

Emily Gibson of Montevallo, Julie Donnestad and Rachel Ingram of Lee University, Bhavna Shetty of West Florida, and Goeon Lee of St. Leo University all finished in the top five.

UCLA won the Arizona Wildcat Invitational, hosted by the Peninsula Golf Club in Sonora, Mexico, Tuesday. The Bruins bested Arizona State and Southern Cal by nine strokes.

Jodi Ewart of New Mexico and Lizette Salas of USC tied for first place with three-round totals of 3-under-par 213.

Carlota Ciganda of Arizona State, Caroline Hedwall of Oklahoma State, and Stephanie Kono of UCLA rounded out the top five.

Professional Round-up

Phil Mickelson defended his title at the Northern Trust Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif., last weekend, defeating Steve Stricker by one shot.

Fred Couples, Andres Romero, K.J. Choi, Mark Calcavecchia, J.B. Holmes, Luke Donald, Roy Sabbatini, Dustin Johnson, Scott McCarron, Brandon de Jonge all finished in the top 10.

*Current AJGA members and alumni denoted in bold