PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - David Ford of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, stormed back in the final round of the 14th Junior PLAYERS Championship to capture his second AJGA Invitational of 2020.
The annual event showcases the best of the next generation of future college and professional stars. To date, 34 past players have graduated to play in the PGA TOUR's THE PLAYERS Championship. Representatives from eight foreign countries and 21 U.S. states (seven from Florida) competed in one of the AJGA’s annual top boys fields at TPC Sawgrass, which featured eight of the top 10 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
The 2020 Junior PLAYERS Championship field was highlighted by 22 Rolex Junior All-Americans and 49 AJGA champions, including 18 players with 2020 wins. Of the 78 boys competing, 45 players were signed or verbally committed to play college golf. Twenty-five players have previous Junior PLAYERS Championship experience.
Ford started the final round seven strokes off the lead at 1-over-par 145, but quickly got back into red figures with birdies on his first two holes on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. The University of North Carolina verbal commit added six pars to make the turn bogey-free and 3-under-par 33.
Ford stormed to the top of the leaderboard with birdies on Nos. 10-12. He made his first bogey on the par-4 No. 15, but immediately got it back with a birdie on the par 5 No. 16.
Coming off bogey on No. 15 helped me birdie 16 – I was a little angry. I bailed out on the left on No. 16. I had a good chip-in to make birdie.
The 2019 Rolex Junior All-American made par on Nos. 17 and 18 to post the lowest round of the day at 6-under-par 66. Ford won the tournament at 5-under-par 211.
The win was Ford's fourth AJGA victory, and second major win after claiming the AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield in June, hosted on another PGA TOUR course which hosts the Wyndham Championship. Ford has yet to finish outside of the top 10 in four national junior golf tournaments this year. The 2021 grad entered The Junior PLAYERS Championship No. 3 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
It’s cool that THE PLAYERS Championship is here and there’s so many who’ve gone from Junior PLAYERS to THE PLAYERS, but I’m really trying to take everything one step at a time. Pro golf I hope is in the future, college golf is soon, but for now it’s junior golf. I’m trying to focus on how I can set records there, and not set limits anywhere else.
Thomas Morrison of Dallas; Scotty Kennon of Bradenton, Florida; Kelly Chinn of Great Falls, Virginia, and Karl Vilips of Perth, Australia, finished tied for second at 3-under-par 213.
Morrison had the second lowest round of the day at 4-under-par 68 and compiled his best career AJGA finish. His round included eagles on the par-5 No. 9 and the par-4 No. 12. The University of Texas at Austin verbal commit entered the week No. 38 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings and won the Southern Junior Championship in August.
Kennon, who is No. 69 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, went the first 17 holes of the final round at or under par. He ultimately found the water on No. 18 and made bogey to finish at 1-under-par 71. The 2019 Rolex Junior All-American and ACE Grant recipient is verbally committed to Wake Forest, and owns two AJGA victories, including the AJGA Dana Incorporated Junior Open in July.
Chinn had an up-and-down final round that included four birdies and three bogeys for a 1-under-par 71. The Duke University verbal commit came to TPC Sawgrass as No. 1 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings. Chinn, a 2019 Rolex Junior All-American, won the 2019 Rolex Tournament of Champions to open the season and finished sixth at the AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield in June.
Vilips, competing in a record fifth Junior PLAYERS Championship, finished the final round at even-par 72 for his last junior golf tournament before he begins at Stanford later this month. The Australian won seven national junior golf tournaments, including three AJGA Invitationals and was a four-time Rolex Junior All-American.