SIMON, STAGGS AND GREENWOOD NAMED MEDALISTS AT OAK TREE
Rainbolt and Nam shoot 77s for Girls Division honors
EDMOND, Okla. Three Oklahoma natives, Jacob Simon of Oklahoma City, Colton Staggs of Tulsa, and Chris Greenwood of Ponca City, all shot 1-over-par 71 to qualify for the OSSO Junior at Oak Tree. Alyssa Rainbolt of Wichita, Kan., and Ana Nam of Bayside, N.Y., topped the girls leaderboard by one stroke after shooting 7-over-par 77 Monday for the Oak Tree Country Club.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Srixon OSSO Junior at Oak Tree Qualifier was held at Oak Tree Country Club, West Course. The par-70 course was set up at 6,529 yards for the Boys Division and 5,690 yards for the Girls Division. The qualifier field consisted of 59 boys and 15 girls, ages 12-18, from 10 states, which included 36 Oklahoma residents. Simon, Staggs and Greenwood led by a one-stroke margin, carding 71 on Oak Tree's well-known West Course. Just 16- and 14-years-old, the boys credited their top finish to one specific skill. Greenwood, who opted out of the tournament, claimed his putter to be the magic weapon. For Simon it was his ball striking, but for Staggs it was putting.
On No. 3 I hit the ball in the hazard and used a 6-iron to get the ball out and ended up draining it for par, Staggs said. That hole and the putt really got my momentum going.
As for Simon, medaling in the qualifier was what he needed to boost his confidence en route to a tournament that includes a highly regarded field of boys.
It feels good to be one of the top scorers, he said. It's a good start to the summer, especially after finishing second to Taylor Hartman at the State Junior Match Play Championship.
Eleven additional boys also qualified for the tournament. Matt Ramage of Jenks, Okla., shot a 2-over-par 72, while Marc Sambol of Dallas, Cole Wiederkehr of Tulsa, and Kyle Hudelson of Oklahoma City shot 73s. Jerrod Roberts, also of Tulsa, Clark Collier of Edmond, Okla., Adam Dolezal of Lake Forest, Ill., and Erik Fernandez of Norman, Okla., all shot 4-over-par 74. Paul Hobbs of Edmond, Jamie Voegeli of Muskogee, Okla., and Travis Keeley of Norman shot 75s to earn spots in the tournament.
Two additional boys carded scores that would have qualified, had they not chosen to opt out of the tournament, and take a tournament exemption. Jack Kasting of Jenks, and Sam Mysock of Tulsa all chose to utilize this option after carding 72 and 74, respectively.
In the Girls Division, a soon-to-be University of Kansas freshman, Rainbolt (41-3677), played a consistent short game and putted better than usual.
It feels good to medal in the qualifier, Rainbolt said. It is exciting going into the tournament after shooting the top girls score. I'm looking forward to playing strong and consistent, and hopefully continuing to putt well and score low.
Other qualifiers are Emily Potts of Springfield, Mo., who carded a 78, and Whitney McAteer of Tulsa at 80.
In addition to Nam, Kathryn Oliver of Waco, Texas, qualified for the tournament after shooting 78, but took a tournament exemption to forego playing in the tournament.
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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
SRIXON Sports USA, Inc., based in Norcross, Ga., has been distributing premium golf balls and equipment in the U.S. since 1997 and is a subsidiary of SRI Sports. SRI Sports is one of the world's leading patent holders in golf ball technology and manufactures several golf balls played in the United States. SRI Sports-made balls have won 73 PGA TOUR events since 1989, including seven majors. For more information about SRIXON, please visit srixon.com.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which enters its third decade of support, 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, Candie Kung, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.
Tournament tee times will run from 7:30 9:09 a.m., and from noon 1:39 p.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Oak Tree Country Club on Tuesday through Thursday. For more information on the OSSO Junior at Oak Tree, please call AJGA tournament headquarters at (405) 340-1010, or visit ajga.org.