By Shannon Dudzinski, AJGA Communications
There were seven AJGA alum in the top-10 of the News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot. J.J. Spaun took the title over Sam Ryder by one stroke after sinking a 12-foot birdie on No. 18. Spaun entered the final round one shot back of Ryder, but then fell back after an up-and-down front nine at Fox Den Country Club. Spaun stole the victory after dropping in five birdies on the back nine, posting a final-round score of 5-under-par 66 and a tournament total of 26-under-par 258. The win was a sweet birthday present for the 26-year-old. Prior to this win, Spaun had two runner-ups and four top-10 finishes this season.
Spaun played in the 2007 TomatoBank Southern California Classic, finishing at T10 in the AJGA event.
The other six AJGA alum in the top-10:
T3 - Ryan Brehm
6 - Adam Schnek
7 - Grayson Murray
T8 - Jack Maguire
T8 - Kevin Tway
T8 - Ryan Yip
Collectively, the seven AJGA alum have played 68 AJGA events.
Sim Woo Kim won the 2016 Wyndham Championship in a fantastic fashion. The 21-year-old shot the tournament record (60) and claimed his first PGA win, posting a 21-under-par 259. Three AJGA Alum trailed him in the top-10. Brett Stegmaier tied for fifth with Billy Horschel, Johnson Wagner and Graeme McDowell at 14-under-par 266. Kevin Kisner finished tied for 10th with a 13-under-par 267 at Sedgefield Country Club.
Stegmaier played in eight AJGA events, had three top-10 finishes and one victory at the 2001 AJGA Tucker Anthony Junior. In 2001, he was named an Honorable Mention Rolex Junior All-American.
Horschel, a former Florida Gator, placed second in the 2005 PING Junior at Mirasol.
Kisner claimed six top-10 finishes in his 11 AJGA events, including third at the 2001 AJGA PING Myrtle Beach Junior Classic and the 2001 AJGA Hargray Junior Classic at Indigo Run. The University of Georgia alum was a 2001 and 2002 Rolex Junior All-American.
Two AJGA alums battled it out on Sunday of the 116th of U.S. Amateur. Curtis Luck became the 23rd alum to win the Havemeyer Trophy after defeating Brad Dalke in a 6-and-4 triumph. Luck took control over Dalke with an eagle on the 20th hole to even the match, then continued to card nothing less than par for the next eight holes, including two birdies while Dalke struggled through that stretch with bogeys. After this win and his victory against Nick Carlson in the semifinal match. Luck has gained invites into the Masters, U.S. Open and next year’s Open Championship.
During his junior career, Luck tied 28th in AJGA’s 2015 Thunderbird International Junior.
As an AJGA member, Dalke was a five-time Wyndham Cup West Team participant with a 10-6-4 career record. The 19-year-old won three events, including the 2011 Thunderbird International Junior, 2013 The PING Invitational and 2013 CB&I / Simplify Boys Championship at Carlton Woods. Dalke was a Rolex Junior All-American from 2011 until 2015 when he graduated.
Matthew Fitzpatrick and David Lipsky finished in the top-10 at the D+D Real Czech Masters. Paul Peterson took the title at 15-under-par 273, with Fitzpatrick five shots behind in second place at 10-under 278 and Lipsky six shots behind in sixth place at 9-under 279. Fitzpatrick’s fifth-place helped him clinch a spot on Europe’s Ryder cup team.
Fitzpatrick played in the Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf in 2011 during his AJGA days.
Lipsky recorded four top-10 finishes in AJGA events, his first being at the 2004 Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruce where he finished fourth, followed by the 2005 Greater Hartford Jaycees Junior presented by St. Paul Travelers, then at the 2005 Lessing’s AJGA Classic and his fourth top-10 finish was at the 2006 Pinnacle Communities Junior Championship.
Laura Gonzalez Escallon won the PHC Classic by one-stroke over Erynne Lee on Sunday. Escallon secured the win on the final hole after hitting an 85-yard wedge to a foot for birdie, finishing at 10-under-par 206. Lee was a stroke ahead going to the 18th, but hit her approach shot into the back bunker and two-putted for bogey, carding a final-round score of 70 for a tournament total of 9-under-par 207. Finishing third was Augusta James at 8-under-par 208 and tied for fourth was Clariss Guce and Kathleen Ekey at 7-under- par 209.
As an AJGA member, Lee had 19 top-10 finishes and won three events including the 2008 AJGA Junior at Wenatchee, the 2008 I.R.I./Srixon Mixed Team Championship hosted by Jim Furyk and the 2010 Goodman Networks Junior at Traditions. The 23-year-old was a Rolex Junior All-American in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
James won the 2008 Medicus Junior All-Star at Oakwood and had four top-10 finishes in her AJGA career.
Guce played three AJGA events, placing 13th in the 2008 Hanmi Bank Junior Open and the 2008 CORE Realty Holdings Junior presented by Tomato Bank.
In her AJGA career, Ekey played eight events with two top-10 finishes and was a 2005 Honorable Mention Rolex Junior All-American.