MERZBACHER COMES FROM BEHIND TO WIN BOYS DIVISION AT JUNIOR ALL-STAR AT TOFTREES
Feng goes wire-to-wire for first AJGA victory
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. â€” Chad Merzbacher of Dublin, Ohio fired a 6-under-par 66 on the day and a 1-under-par 215 tournament total to win the American Junior Golf Association's Junior All-Star at Toftrees. Simin Feng of Orlando, Fla., won by two-strokes to take home the first place trophy shooting a 5-over-par 77 on the day and an 8-over-par 224 tournament total.
Conducted by the AJGA, the Junior All-Star at Toftrees was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Toftrees Golf Resort & Conference Center. The Junior All-Star Series is a collection of 10 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12 - 15 years old. The competition provides an opportunity for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into open tournaments. The 98-player field featured players from 19 states and Canada. The course was played as a 6,578-yard par 72 for the Boys Division and a 5,711-yard par 72 in the Girls Division.
Merzbacher, 13, said he woke up the morning of the final round telling himself he had to shoot at least a 65 for the day to have a chance at winning. Fortunately, his score was low enough to put him two strokes behind the second place winner.
â€śThe competition is really good,â€ť Merzbacher said. â€śThis is a world tournament every week.â€ť
Merzbacher hit three birdies in a row on Nos. 6, 7 and 8, in addition to Nos. 2, 13 and 14, giving him a 4-under-par 32 on the front nine and 2-under-par on the back nine.
Coming in second in the Boys Division were Nicholas Austin of Midlothian, Va., and Brandon Dalinka of Newtown, Pa., posting a 1-over-par 217 tournament totals. In fourth place were David Pastore of Greenwich, Conn., Andrew Kim of Old Tappan, N.J., Ian Bangor of Moon Township, Pa., and Ryan Davis of Salem, Va., all carding 2-over-par 218 tournament totals.
Feng, 12, who was the leader throughout rounds one and two, said her strategy through the tournament was to not get too excited and treat each day like a normal practice. She also said since she is so young she did not feel a lot of pressure.
â€śI'm just going to keep practicing hard every day and do my best on the golf course,â€ť Feng said. â€śI want to thank my coach Fred Griffin and my parents for all the travel and time taking me everywhere.â€ť
Tying for second in the Girls Division were Suzie Lee of E. Northport, N.Y., and Isabel Han of Lake Mary, Fla., carding 10-over-par 226 tournament totals.
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 49 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, 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 Junior All-Star at Toftrees, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.