BREAKING RECORDS: Ariya Jutanugarn won the AJGA Rolex Girls Junior Championship for the second year in a row on June 15. Jutanugarn, of Bangkok, Thailand, fired an 18-under 270 (70-65-68-67) at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., to win by 18 strokes.
Jutanugarn’s 72-hole score of 18 under not only broke her own scoring record, but also broke the AJGA girls’ 72-hole scoring record, which Jutanugarn herself had set last year with a 17 under at Somerby Golf Club in Byron, Minn. Also in record-breaking fashion, Jutanugarn set a new course low at The Concession with her second-round 7-under 65.
Jutanugarn had the goal of breaking the previous AJGA girls’ scoring record as she headed into the final round. This goal, which may have seemed rather lofty given that The Concession is considered one of the AJGA’s most challenging courses, seemed attainable for Jutanugarn, who was coming off an AJGA victory at the Thunderbird International Junior.
“After Thunderbird, I’m really confident and before the tournament, I think I can beat my score from last year,” she said.
Her pursuit of a scoring record came down to the final three holes of the tournament, where Jutanugarn made crucial birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to secure the record.
“I’m so proud and happy because it’s my second year to win this tournament and this is one of the best junior tournaments,” Jutanugarn said.
Jutanugarn’s sister, Moriya finished 18 shots behind in second, at even-par 288. Jaye Marie Green of Boca Raton, Fla. finished three shots farther back at 3-over 291, with Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., one shot behind at 4-over 292.
“It’s the hardest course I’ve played all year,” Green said. “You have to hit fairways, you have to hit greens, and you have to two-putt. [Ariya] mastered everything, like she always does.”
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TOMORROW’S LEADERS: KPMG and the LPGA’s Stacy Lewis, an AJGA alumnus, are teaming up to host the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior Open at Bella Vista (Ark.) Village (Highlands). The event, scheduled to take place July 2-5, will feature 132 of the top junior golfers (boys and girls) ages 12-18.
“At KPMG we pride ourselves on supporting the development of today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders,” said John Veihmeyer, Chairman and CEO of KPMG LLP. “We are delighted to support the AJGA and Stacy in hosting this tournament.”
Lewis played in eight AJGA events during her junior years, with her best finish coming at the 2002 Aaron’s / Bob Estes Abilene Junior when she finished T4.
“Junior golf is the foundation upon which the best players in the United States have built their games” said Lewis.
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PLAY WITH THE PROS: The First Tee of Maine is giving junior players the opportunity to compete alongside some of the biggest names in women’s golf during The Legends Tour’s Hannaford Community Challenge, June 21-24.
Twenty boys and girls, ages 10-17, will compete in their own 18-hole tournament while paired with Legends players in the first round of the tournament. Pairings will consist of one junior and two pros, and a trophy will be presented to the junior champion on the 18th green following the round.
“We have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of juniors playing in the tournament,” said Legends Tour President and CEO Jane Blalock. “It is truly a priceless experience for them to have the up-close experience to witness how true competitors and champions act on the golf course.”
The Hannaford Community Challenge will take place at Falmouth (Maine) CC, and will include a field of 40 professionals such as Amy Alcott, Pat Bradley, Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner, Nancy Lopez, Val Skinner and Rosie Jones.
Charities benefiting from the tournament proceeds will include The Good Shepherd Food Bank, The First Tee of Maine, and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
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AAU NATIONAL GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Sports Council of the Greene County Partnership will host the 2012 AAU National Golf Championships sponsored by Bridgestone Golf at Link Hills Country Club, July 19-22.
The championship will feature different divisions for players age 6 to 18, and will begin with a Parent/Junior tournament on July 19. The competition begins July 20, and ends on July 22 with an awards presentation following the final round of play.
Nine holes will be played each day, and long drive and putting contests will be included. For more information, visit the tournament website: http://www.AAUGolf.org.
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WINNERS: AJGA – Madison Lellyo of Windermere, Fla. shot 5-over 218 (71-71-76) and defeated Sophia Schubert of Oak Ridge, Tenn. and Michaela Owen of Suwanee, Ga. in a sudden-death playoff to win the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic at Coosa CC in Rome, Ga. on June 14; Haley Moore of Escondido, Calif. shot even-par 216 (71-75-70) to win the Matt Snodgrass Las Vegas Junior at Stallion Mountain GC in Las Vegas, Nev. on June 14; Haylee Harford of Leavittsburg, Ohio shot 14-over 224 (75-76-73) to win the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior at Bellefonte CC in Ashland, Ken. on June 15. . . . Cha Cha Willhoite of Palm Desert, Calif. shot 9-over 225 (75-73-77) to win the Girls 16-18 division of the The PGA Junior Series at ArborLinks in Nebraska City, Neb., June 13. Grace Chua of Canada shot 17-over 233 (75-80-78) to win the girls 13-15 division.
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A LOOK AHEAD: AJGA June 18-21: Florida Junior, Weston Hills CC, Weston, Fla.; Music City Junior, Richland CC, Nashville, Tenn.; Cleveland Junior Open, Red Tail GC, Avon, Ohio; Junior All-Star at Eagle Ridge, Galena, Ill.; BilliardFactory.com Junior Championship, The Woodlands (Texas) CC; ClubCorp Mission Hills CC Desert Junior, Rancho Mirage, Calif. . . . The PGA Junior Series plays at The Links of Kokopelli in Marion, Ill. June 20-22. . . . The Texas Junior Golf Tour plays at Meadowbrook Farms GC in Katy, Oakmont CC in Corinth and University of Texas GC, in Austin, June 25-26.