SHIN GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE TO WIN NATURAL RESOURCE PARTNERS BLUEGRASS JUNIOR
Kaneko earns first victory of year at Bellefonte Country Club
ASHLAND, Ky. — Donnie Shin of Columbia, Md., carded a 3-under-par 67 Friday to finish at 7-under-par 203 to win the Boys Division of the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior at Bellefonte Country Club. Ayaka Kaneko of Honolulu, recorded an even-par 70 to pick up the win in the Girls Division, finishing at 5-over-par 215 for the tournament.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Bellefonte Country Club. The tournament field consisted of 90 boys and 30 girls from 20 states and Mexico. The Boys Division was played at 6,049 yards, while the Girls Division was played at 5,652 yards.
With a sense of now or never, Shin, playing in his last AJGA tournament, walked away with his first AJGA victory. After staying atop the leaderboard all three days, Shin says it feels awesome to win. A little stressed going into the round, Shin was accurate with his driver, hitting it long, carding three birdies and turning in a bogey-free scorecard.
“The hardest thing I had to do today was adjust to my later tee time, not the rain,” Shin said. “I am happy with how I played. I kept telling myself to focus on every shot and not make a big score; just to keep going.”
Chase Wright of Muncie, Ind., finished second after recording a three-day total of 2-over-par 212. Tying for third were Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., and Boris Stantchev of Long Beach, Calif., at 3-over-par 213. Seth Blann of Bowling Green, Ky., and Tyler Duncan of Columbus, Ind., finished at 4-over-par 214 to tie for fifth.
In the Girls Division, Kaneko played steadily throughout the tournament, shooting rounds of 74-71-70 to earn her first victory of the year. Going into the final round, Kaneko knew she needed to concentrate on herself, not her fellow competitors. She was aiming to do her best and shoot even or under par to win.
“I'm happy,” Kaneko said about her victory. “I was just trying to make par at least today and avoid any big mistakes.”
Cheyenne Woods of Phoenix, and Mitsuki Katahira of Wheaton, Ill., finished in a tie for second after posting 10-over-par 220s for 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 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 Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.