SANTA ROSA, Calif. – The East Team seeks its first outright Wyndham Cup title since 2011 after earning 7.5 points during Thursday’s rounds, but the West looks to extend its win streak to five down only two at Mayacama Golf Club.
Rookie Prescott Butler of Old Westbury, New York, earned his third point of the week for the East Team in his foursome match with veteran John Pak of Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Butler, who earned his first career AJGA victory at the inaugural AJGA Dominican Junior Open presented by the Puntacana Resort & Club, was 2-down early, but Pak’s albatross on the par-5 No. 4 cut the deficit to one. The East took their first lead on No. 7 and never lost it, winning the match 5&4.
The match behind proved equally exciting. Future Duke Blue Devils Gina Kim of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Erica Shepherd of Greenwood, Indiana, birdied Nos. 6-8 to go 4-up with 10 to play for the East Team. But six birdies in 10 holes from Alyaa Abdulghany of Newport Beach, California, and Yujeong Son of Norman, Oklahoma, turned the tide for the West Team to give them the eventual 2-up win.
“After the turn, Jason Miller came in and hyped us up,” Abdulghany said. “From that point on, our vibe changed. Every single shot, we felt it was so pure, so good. Even if it wasn’t on the green, we always did our best to make the most out of it.”
But the East gained back the momentum in the afternoon. On No. 7, Shepherd and Canon Claycomb of Bowling Green, Kentucky, discovered a 15th club in Shepherd’s bag from her morning match. The pair was assessed a two-hole state-of-match penalty to go 5-down through No. 7 to the West Team’s Abdulghany and Travis Vick of Houston, Texas. A birdie on No. 9 cut the West Team’s lead to four, and the East proceeded to birdie Nos. 13-16 to cut the deficit to one coming up No. 18. Shepherd flushed it to the back collar of the green from 235 yards, while Abdulghany laid up to the back fringe in three. Shepherd hit her chip shot to just over three feet to birdie the hole and halve the match.
“I was down, but Alyssa and Canon told me it was a minor setback, major comeback,” Shepherd said. “Canon and I made a deal that if we halved or won the match, we would jump in the pond on No. 18, so that’s what got us going.”
The West countered with its own momentum during the final match of the day, as Cole Hammer of Houston, Texas, and Brooke Seay of Rancho Santa Fe, California, took a late lead on No. 15. Their victory was sealed with Hammer’s 80-yard pitch shot to a foot to earn the West’s 14th point of the tournament.
Friday will feature 20 singles matches to determine the 2017 Wyndham Cup champion. The West Team needs 25 points to retain the Wyndham Cup, while the East needs 25 1/2 points to win.
Thursday Morning Foursome: East 5.5, West 4.5
Prescott Butler, Old Westbury, N.Y. (2018) & John Pak, Scotch Plains, N.J. (2017) East def. Clay Seeber, Newport Beach, Calif. (2019) & Ricky Castillo, Yorba Linda, Calif. (2019) West, 5 & 4
Alyaa Abdulghany, Newport Beach, Calif. (2017) & Yujeong Son, (South Korea) Norman, Okla. (2019) West def. Erica Shepherd, Greenwood, Ind. (2019) & Gina Kim, Chapel Hill, N.C. (2018) East, 2-up
Travis Vick, Houston, Texas (2019) & Joe Highsmith, Lakewood, Wash. (2018) West def. Canon Claycomb, Bowling Green, Ky. (2020) & Garrett Barber, Stuart, Fla. (2018) East, 2 & 1
Alexa Pano, Lake Worth, Fla. (2022) & Jennifer Chang, Cary, N.C. (2018) East def. Rose Zhang, Irvine, Calif. (2021) & Calista Reyes, (Philippines) San Diego, Calif. (2018) West, 2 & 1
Won Jun Lee, (South Korea) Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2017) & Bryan Wiyang Teoh, (Malaysia) Jupiter, Fla. (2018) East def. Turner Hosch, Dallas, Texas (2019) & Ryan Grider, Lewisville, Texas (2017) West, 5 & 3
Aubree Jones, Covington, Tenn. (2017) & Youngin Chun, Gainesville, Fla. (2018) East def. Hailey Jones, Dallas, Texas (2019) & Nicole Whiston, San Diego, Calif. (2019) West, 2 & 1
Shuai Ming Wong, (Hong Kong) The Woodlands, Texas (2018) & Cole Hammer, Houston, Texas (2018) West def. Karl Vilips, (Australia) Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2020) & Khavish Varadan, (Malaysia) Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2019) East, 2 & 1
Rachel Heck, Memphis, Tenn. (2020) & Lei (Angelina) Ye, (China) Bradenton, Fla. (2019) East vs. Kaitlyn Papp, Austin, Texas (2017) & Brooke Seay, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (2019) West, halved
Eugene Hong, Orlando, Fla. (2018) & Wocheng (Aden) Ye, (China) Lake Mary, Fla. (2018) East def. Kaiwen Liu, (China) San Diego, Calif. (2017) & Sean Maruyama, (Japan) Encino, Calif. (2018) West, 4 & 2
Lucy Li, Redwood Shores, Calif. (2020) & Paphangkorn Tavatanakit, (Thailand) Van Nuys, Calif. (2017) West def. Emily Hawkins, Lexington, N.C. (2018) & Emilia Migliaccio, Cary, N.C. (2017) East, 3 & 2
Thursday Afternoon Mixed Four-Ball: East 2, West 3
Canon Claycomb, Bowling Green, Ky. (2020) & Erica Shepherd, Greenwood, Ind. (2019) East vs. Travis Vick, Houston, Texas (2019) & Alyaa Abdulghany, Newport Beach, Calif. (2017) West, halved
Clay Seeber, Newport Beach, Calif. (2019) & Nicole Whiston, San Diego, Calif. (2019) West def. Bryan Wiyang Teoh, (Malaysia) Jupiter, Fla. (2018) & Emily Hawkins, Lexington, N.C. (2018) East, 5 & 4
Eugene Hong, Orlando, Fla. (2018) & Alexa Pano, Lake Worth, Fla. (2022) East def. Ricky Castillo, Yorba Linda, Calif. (2019) & Lucy Li, Redwood Shores, Calif. (2020) West, 3 & 2
Cole Hammer, Houston, Texas (2018) & Brooke Seay, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. (2019) West def. Khavish Varadan, (Malaysia) Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2019) & Gina Kim, Chapel Hill, N.C. (2018) East, 1-up
Won Jun Lee, (South Korea) Wesley Chapel, Fla. (2017) & Emilia Migliaccio, Cary, N.C. (2017) East vs. Shuai Ming Wong, (Hong Kong) The Woodlands, Texas (2018) & Kaitlyn Papp, Austin, Texas (2017) West, halved
About Wyndham Cup
Since 1990, Wyndham Cup has brought together 40 of the country’s top junior golfers in an East-versus-West team match play tournament. In 2016, the West Team claimed the Cup for the fourth straight year with a 26-24 win at The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, improving its all-time record to 15-9-3. This year, the country dividing line will run from the eastern border of Texas and extend northward through the eastern border of North Dakota. Wyndham Cup will feature five formats: four-ball, mixed four-ball, foursomes, mixed foursomes and singles. A total of 50 points is available, and every player competes in singles matches and three of the four other formats.
About Wyndham Worldwide
Wyndham Worldwide, one of the world’s leading diversified providers of travel-related products and services for businesses and individual consumers, is the official hotel partner of the AJGA. Since 2011, Wyndham Worldwide has supported the Wyndham Cup, and in 2014, Wyndham Worldwide announced it would endow an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant to support talented junior golfers who lack the financial resources to play a national junior golf schedule.
About the AJGA
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 AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls, ages 12-19) of more than 6,600 members from 50 states and 55 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2017, adidas joined the AJGA as a Premier Partner, serving as the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 830 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Stacy Lewis, Ariya Jutanugarn, Alison Lee, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel.