LENDL WALKS AWAY WITH 5-STROKE VICTORY AT MCDONALD'S BETSY RAWLS GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP
Hurst, McCloskey, Wong finish in second at even-par after action at White Manor Country Club
MALVERN, Pa. â€” Marika Lendl of Bradenton, Fla., took home her first American Junior Golf Association Invitational title after a 5-under-par 209 tournament total at the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship. Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., Lisa McCloskey of Montgomery, Texas, and Kristina Wong of Vestal, N.Y., all finished tied for second at even par.
Conducted by the AJGA, the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Junior Championship was a 54-hole stroke-play tournament held at White Manor Country Club in Malvern, Pa., and was one of 10 AJGA Invitationals in 2006. The 72-player field included girls from 20 states, Canada, Japan and Thailand. Within the tournament field, there were 30 Rolex Junior All-Americans and 17 are currently in the top 20 of the AJGA rankings. Past champions of the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Junior Championship include Grace Park, Christie Kerr, Beth Bauer and Morgan Pressel.
Lendl began the day with her lone bogey of the round, but turned it around with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 giving her a 1-under-par performance on the front nine. She continued to play consistently and made her way through the back-nine looking only for pars. She continued her stellar play, recording birdies on Nos. 15 and 17 taking her to 4-under-par for the tournament. With the birdies, she pulled away from the field and was able to putt out on her last hole in comfort to secure the victory.
â€śI played really well the whole day today,â€ť said Lendl. â€śAfter the birdie on No. 15, I really felt like I was in control. This is the biggest win I have ever had and to have Betsy Rawls' name on it is such an honor.â€ť
Hurst found herself tied for the lead as she began the day, but ran into trouble on the par-4, 362-yard No. 9. She would recover from the front nine with a 1-under-par showing on the back nine.
McCloskey, who also started the day tied for the lead, struggled early but found herself right in the hunt after three consecutive birdies on Nos. 9, 10 and 11. At that point she was only one stroke behind, but ultimately was not able to catch Lendl.
â€śI started bad today,â€ť said McCloskey. â€ťMy birdie streak really gave me some confidence though and made me feel like I had a chance.â€ť
Finishing in fifth after firing a final round 3-under-par 68 was Joanne Lee of San Carlos, Calif., with a tournament total of 217. Tied for sixth with tournament totals of 218 were Brianna Do of Lakewood, Calif., and Sara Hurwitch of Potomac Falls, Va. Rounding out the top 10 in a tie for eighth were Lindy Duncan of Plantation, Fla., So-Hyun Park of Bradenton, Fla., and In-Kyung Kim of Mariottsville, Md.
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.
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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
For more information about the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.