SMITH AND JOHNSON CLAIM VICTORIES AT BELLEFONTE
Win is first AJGA title for each
ASHLAND, Ky.—Travis Smith of Terre Haute, Ind., fired a 2-over-par 72 on the final day of the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior which earned him the Boys Division title and a three-day score of 65-69-72—206. In the Girls Division, Jennifer Johnson of Carlsbad, Calif., climbed to the top with a 1-over-par 71, leading her to her first AJGA win and a three day score of 75-77-71—223.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event being held at the Bellefonte Country Club. The tournament featured 90 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, from 22 states and Canada.
Smith's final round of 72 included three birdies and 10 pars even though he was only able to hit one fairway all day. Smith struggled on the back nine and bogeyed hole Nos. 16 and 17, but hit his only fairway on No. 18 and ended up with his third birdie of the day.
“I feel great about winning, but I'd feel better if I played better today,” Smith said. “The pins were in tougher spots and I definitely think the course played harder than it did these past two days.”
Finishing in second place in the Boys Division was Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, with a three-day score of 72-66-70—208. Tied for third place was Drew Ernst of Seneca, S.C., with a score of 72-65-72—209 and Arnond Vongvanij of Bradenton, Fla., with a score of 71-72-66—209. In fifth place was Cody Gribble of Dallas with a three day score of 69-69-72—210.
At only 13 years of age, Johnson beat out the four girls previously tied for first place after the second round. On hole No. 15, a 150 yard par three and has been playing as one of the most difficult holes on the course, Johnson used a 5-iron to come within five feet of the flagstick and made the putt for a birdie.
“I putted even better today and didn't make as many mistakes,” Johnson said. “Yesterday I had a triple bogey on No. 15 so today I was just glad to get close to the pin. I really had to play a lot of break for such a little putt.”
Tied for second place in the Girls Division was Tanya Wadhwa of Bradenton, Fla., with a score of 77-73-74—224 and Ashley Baker of Dublin, Ohio with a 74-76-74—224.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information about the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, call AJGA Headquarters at 877-373-2542.