ASHWORTH JUNIOR AT HIGHLAND OAKS PRESENTED BY MOVIE GALLERY
Highland Oaks Golf Course
March 12-14, 2004
STRONG FINAL ROUND PROPELS STARK TO VICTORY IN DOTHAN
Koon finishes in second, three strokes back of medalist
DOTHAN, Ala. â€“ Blake Stark, of Canton, Ga., equaled his career best of 69 in Sundayâ€™s final round to overcome a number of competitors and take medalist honors in the Ashworth Junior at Highland Oaks presented by Movie Gallery.
The second-annual Ashworth Junior at Highland Oaks presented by Movie Gallery is a 36-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The tournament featured 102 competitors from 17 states with 24 hailing from Florida and eight from the host state of Alabama.
The AJGAâ€™s Ashworth Junior Series is designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series event in the current and/or the previous calendar year.
Entering Sundayâ€™s round, Stark found himself three shots off the lead in a tie for 12th place. He had previously only competed in AJGA qualifiers and a postseason event and had only carded one career round in the 60â€™s.
â€śComing into the final round,â€ť Stark said, â€śI was just hoping to finish in the top 10 and earn an exemption.â€ť
The 16-year-old Stark did that and much more, getting off to a quick start and continuing his outstanding play to fire a 34 on the front and 35 on the back for his 3-under-par total of 69. This, coupled with Saturdayâ€™s 76 gave him a two-day total of 145, and a three-shot victory.
â€śMy putter was big today,â€ť Stark said. â€śI made some huge putts. Two of the biggest were a 15-foot breaker for birdie on No. 7 and a 20 footer on No. 11 to save par after I left about an 80 footer short.â€ť
By claiming this victory, Stark will be awarded two exemptions in the AJGAâ€™s Performance Based Entry system.
Earning runner-up honors was Allen Koon, of Bamberg, S. C. He carded rounds of 75 and 73 for a two-day total of 148 and finished alone in second place, three shots behind Stark.
â€śI really putted well this weekend, especially today. That was really important because the hard greens and tough hole locations made it tough to get it close,â€ť said Koon, who overcame slow starts on both days to earn his second-place spot.
Finishing in a three-way tie for third behind Stark and Koon, were Toliver Latham, of Twin Falls, Idaho; Brent Cooper, of Valley Head, Ala.; and Joseph Schrader, of Casselberry, Fla., with two-day totals of 149.
For more information on the Ashworth Junior at Highland Oaks presented by Movie Gallery, or any other event, please contact the AJGA's National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.