Jason Roets of South Africa prevailed in a playoff Monday in the AJGA’s season-opening Puerto Rico Junior Open, earning an exemption into the PGA Tour event in Puerto Rico in March.
“It’s a dream come true early for me,” Roets said. “I’d have never dreamed of it before, but now that it’s happening, I’m ready for the Tour event.”
Roets, 17, began the final round at Trump International three shots behind overnight leader Wilson Bateman, but quickly picked up ground as Bateman struggled to a 79. Roets’ biggest challenge came from Julian Lerda, who erased an 11-shot deficit and forced a playoff after a final-round 67, the low round of the tournament. Roets closed with 75, and both players finished the 54-hole event at 1-over 217.
Roets earned his second AJGA victory with a par on the first extra hole, after Lerda’s 6-footer slid by the cup.
The Puerto Rico Open will be played March 10-13 at the same course – Trump International Golf Club’s Championship Course in Rio Grande.
“I don’t really have any words,” said Roets, No. 158 in Golfweek’s rankings. “It’s a great feeling.”
Monifa Sealy, 17, of Trinidad & Tobago, made a late birdie to edge Patricia Garcia for the girls’ title. Trailing by one, Sealy holed a short birdie putt at 17 to pull even, then moved ahead when Garcia bogeyed the finishing hole. Sealy, a Central Florida commit, finished at 2-over 218 to claim her first AJGA victory.
Both Sealy and Roets are students at the Gary Gilchrist Academy in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla.
“I feel 100 pounds lighter today,” said Sealy, No. 61 in Golfweek’s rankings. “I feel relief and happiness. I was playing great last year, but my last three tournaments, my game was in a rut.”
Emiliano Grillo, the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 8, finished fifth at 3-over 219.
–Information from the AJGA was used in this report.