The American Junior Golf Association’s Medicus Preseason Junior Series is designed to give lesser experienced members a chance to get their feet wet and gain experience on their way to entering other AJGA Open Events. Maria Piccio of Bradenton, Fla., made the most of that opportunity this week at the Medicus Preseason Junior at Callaway Gardens.
Playing in her first AJGA event, Piccio set a new AJGA Girls Division margin-of-victory record with her 18-stroke victory Wednesday. The old record of 16 shots was held by seven other players, the most recent being Morgan Pressel's victory over Casey Hines in the 2004 Valero Texas Junior Open.
Piccio’s tournament total 9-under-par 135 gave her the solid victory over Jennifer Yang of Coquitlam, British Columbia, and Lauren Cate of St. Augustine, Fla., who both tied for second with tournament totals of 9-over-par 153.
After a bogey-free first-round 6-under-par 66 that featured four birdies and an eagle, Piccio remained confident and didn’t disappoint in the final round. She continued to have strength in her short game and off the tee while carding a final-round 3-under-par 69.
“I only hit 28 putts all day, which made me very happy,” Piccio said. “Winning a tournament with such low scores gives me confidence going forward that I am able to actually shoot low.”
Piccio, 17, is a rising senior at The Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla., and has yet to commit to a college.