HOUSTON SHOOTS 8-UNDER-PAR 202 FOR A VICTORY AT WINDSTONE GOLF CLUB
Ernst goes wire-to-wire to win Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic
RINGGOLD, Ga. — Parker Houston of Greensboro, N.C., carded a 2-under-par 68 Thursday to finish with an 8-under-par 202 to win the Boys Division at the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic. In the Girls Division, Austin Ernst of Seneca, S.C., fired her second straight 1-under-par 69 to pick up the win, finishing at 5-under-par 205.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic was held at WindStone Golf Club. The tournament field consisted of 71 boys and 27 girls from 18 states and one foreign country. The Boys Division played at 6,469 yards and the Girls Division at 5,667 yards.
Houston knew it would be tough to catch James White of Acworth, Ga., who led after the first two rounds. Houston didn't give up and with safe and steady play throughout the three rounds, secured the win.
“I thought I didn't really have a chance, but I knew if I played good, I could hopefully catch up,” Houston said. “I learned to play safe; I only hit six drivers the whole tournament.”
Tying for second in the Boys Division were White and Derek Chang of Alpharetta, Ga., who carded three-day totals of 1-under-par 209s. In fourth was Michael Lee of Columbus, Ga., at 1-over-par 211. Tied for fifth were Austin Cody of North Charleston, S.C., Logan Harrell of Huntersville, N.C., Alex Frankel of Atlanta, and Jay Vandeventer of Bristol, Va., with 2-over-par 212s.
It may have seemed like Ernst had a comfortable lead, but with Stacey Kim of Columbus, Ga., behind her, Ernst knew she couldn't relax. Going into the round, Ernst figured she had to go under par, knowing she had strong competition around her. Ernst attacked early, carding birdies on three of the first five holes, not wanting to let up.
“On the front nine, I thought I could go low because I had two birdies on the first two holes,” Ernst said. “I didn't really think about winning it until the 18th tee when I had a four-shot lead. I knew (Stacey) Kim could go birdie, birdie and go low.”
Kim took second place after firing a 1-over-par 71 to finish with a 2-under-par 208 and Joy Kim of Duluth, Ga., finished third with a 1-over-par 211 for the three rounds.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information about the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic, please contact National Headquarters at (770)868-4200.