KMIECIK STORMS BACK TO WIN IN SCINTILLATING PLAYOFF AT ROYAL MELBOURNE
Rohrback lands first career AJGA victory in final-round romp
LONG GROVE, Ill. — Kyle Kmiecik of Avon, Ohio, came back from a six-shot deficit to overtake Ross Frankenberg of Barrington, Ill., in a three-hole playoff and earn his first AJGA tournament victory at the Midwest Junior Players Championship. In the Girls Division, Kaitlyn Rohrback, 16, of Crofton, Md., managed to parlay her stellar first two rounds into a sizeable victory, finishing seven strokes ahead of the field at Royal Melbourne Country Club. Her tournament total of 5-over-par 221 came despite gusting winds throughout the week.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Midwest Junior Players Championship was a 54-hole stroke play event held at the Royal Melbourne Country Club. The 96-player field featured players aged 12-18 from 18 states and Canada. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,635 while the Girls Division played at 6,037.
Kmiecik, 16, began his round auspiciously when he carded a birdie on No. 1. After recording two additional birdies, including one on No. 18, Kmiecik managed to send the final round into a playoff with second-round leader Frankenberg. To begin the thrilling extra session, Frankenberg drained a 20-foot putt to save par on the first playoff hole. Both players carded pars on the second playoff hole. It was on the third hole that Kmiecik came out on top after his approach shot landed him within three feet of the flagstick, enabling an easy birdie putt to seal the win. In the end, Kmiecik managed to pull out the improbable victory and set the tone for his summer to come.
“It feels great to finally win, because you work hard to get there,” Kmiecik said. “It just feels great that all my work finally paid off.”
Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division were Frankenburg, who shot a tournament total of 224, and third-place finishers Drew Preston of Ada, Mich., Kramer Hickok of Plano, Texas, and Theodore Lederhausen of Hinsdale, Ill., each having shot a final total of 225.
Rohrback took the lead in the Girls Division on Tuesday and never relinquished it, holding her competitors at bay by staying calm and collected throughout the tournament. Rohrback never scored higher than 39 in a round, an impressive feat given the difficulty of the course. She put an exclamation mark on her triumph with a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-4 No. 18, a putt that was a microcosm of her week here at Royal Melbourne.
“This win is a really good way to start off my summer,” Rohrback said. “It gives me a lot of confidence going into my next tournament.”
Finishing in a tie for second place were Kristen Schelling of Mesa, Ariz., and Valentina Fontaine of Hilton Head Island, S.C. after carding 228 tournament totals. For Fontaine, this was her second straight week finishing in the top three, having also finished tied for second in last week's John Deere Classic Junior Open in Long Grove, Iowa.
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 AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 25 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 on the Midwest Junior Players Championship, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.