KITTLESON AND SPENCER GO WIRE-TO-WIRE TO WIN AT NORTHWOOD CLUB
Barton and Burlison win Girls Division by seven strokes
DALLAS — Drew Kittleson, 16, Scottsdale, Ariz., and Brett Spencer, 16, of Plano, Texas, remained on top of the leader board for the third-straight round as they took the Justin Leonard/Deloitte Junior Team Championship by one stroke over the team of Spencer Cole, 16, of Greer, S.C., and Nicholas Mullhaupt, 16, of Bradenton, Fla. In the Girls Division, the team of Lila Barton, 15, of Dallas, and Sydney Burlison, 15, of Salinas, Calif., continued to dominate during the final round, winning the event for the second year in a row—the first team ever to do so.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Justin Leonard/Deloitte Junior Team Championship is being held at Northwood Club in Dallas, the site of the 1952 U.S. Open. The 54-hole event featured 72 players from 12 states, including 50 players from Texas.
The players competed in an alternate shot format, under which one player hits a tee shot and the players alternate shots until the ball is holed. The players on each team split the tee shots evenly, assigning one player to the even-numbered holes and the other player to the odd-numbered holes.
Kittleson and Spencer came into Thursday's final round with a four-stroke cushion but saw it disappear to one by the end of the round. After carding only one birdie on the round, a clutch par on No. 14 after their approach shot found the hazard continued the momentum for the duo, who ended the tournament at 10-under-par 203. This is Kittleson's second AJGA win of the season, and Spencer's first AJGA career victory.
“We wanted to be even-par through the day, and let the rest of the field chase us,” Kittleson said. “But we kind of went back to them.”
The team of Cole and Mullhaupt fired a final-round low of 2-under-par 69 to propel themselves into second place with a tournament total of 9-under-par 204. Behind Cole and Mullhaupt, Carl Smith IV, of Laguna Beach, Calif., and Cameron Tringale, of Laguna Niguel Calif., ended with a tournament total of 7-under-par 206. In fourth place, Christopher Ward, of McKinney, Texas, and Jordan Cox of Redwood City, Calif., ended the tournament at 207. Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division, Jeffrey Edelman of Southlake, Texas, and Sang Yi of Carrollton, Texas, came in with a tournament total of 5-under-par 208.
The team of Barton and Burlison won the Girls Division for the second straight year in commanding fashion, with a seven-stroke cushion to finish the tournament. Despite recording an 11-over-par 82 in the final round, the team carded two birdies on the round for a combined tournament total of 5-over-par 218.
“Today we tried to keep it in play,” Burlison said. “We knew if we didn't make any huge numbers that no one could catch us.”
In the Girls Division, Stephanie Connelly, of Pasadena, Md., and Brittany Nelson of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., tied for second place with the team of Ginny Brown of Austin, Texas, and Tia Gannon of Hilton Head Island, S.C, with a tournament total of 225.
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 Justin Leonard/Deloitte Junior Team Championship call AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.