McInerney, Green capture Ping Invite titles
STILLWATER, Okla. – Battling difficult conditions and a brutal course, A.J. McInerney and Jaye Marie Green rose to the top of the leaderboard Monday to win the Ping Invitational.
McInerney, of Henderson, Nev., shot rounds of 74-69-71 (2-under 214) to edge top-ranked Shun Yat Hak by two strokes at Karsten Creek. Wyndham Clark and Matthew NeSmith tied for third.
It was McInerney’s fourth career AJGA title – his first since 2009 – but first invitational. The 18-year-old’s previous best finish in an invitational was a T-4 earlier this year at the Thunderbird International Junior. He is No. 14 in Golfweek's Junior Rankings.
“I’ve been playing invitationals for a couple years now ... and it feels good to finally close the deal,” McInerney said. “The course was playing hard, and I know a lot of guys that were at the top tried to make a move today, so that made it pretty fun.”
Green, of Boca Raton, Fla., overtook overnight leader Kyung Kim and fired a final-round 68 to cruise to the girls’ title. Her 2-under 214 total was five shots better than Ariya Jutanugarn, whose final-round 66 set the women’s course record at Karsten Creek and likely locked up AJGA Player of the Year honors (wins at the U.S. Girls’ Junior, Junior PGA and Rolex Girls Championship).
For Green, a Florida commit, it was her third AJGA title and second invitational. She also won the Polo Golf Junior, the AJGA’s match-play event, last November.
“It feels a lot different because match play you’re taking it hole by hole, person by person,” Green said. “But here I have to play against everyone, and it just feels good because now I know I can win a stroke-play event.”
Information from the AJGA was used in this report.