HASSELL, KENNERLY SHOOT 4-UNDER-PAR 68s TO EARN SPOTS IN
BURGETT H. MOONEY, JR. ROME CLASSIC
Gilbert takes top honors in Girls Division at Stonebridge Golf Club
ROME, Ga. — Sean Hassell, 16, of Walhalla, S.C., and Billy Kennerly, 15, of Alpharetta, Ga., took co-medalist honors in Sunday's Qualifier after carding 4-under-par 68 s to earn spots in the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic. Shelby Gilbert, 17, of Hixson, Tenn., posted a 2-over-par 74 to lead the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 18-hole stroke-play Qualifier featured 77 boys and 16 girls — ages 12-18 — each trying to "play their way in" to the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic or build their status within the AJGA's Performance Based Entry system. Sunday's Qualifier gave 12 boys and three girls the opportunity to play in the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic, which begins Monday, June 23.
Hassell began his round slowly with three straight bogeys on Nos. 7, 8 and 9, but quickly turned things around on the back nine with birdies on Nos. 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 to fire a 7-under-par 29. Hassell hopes to carry his solid play into the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic.
“I started off pretty slowly,” Hassell said. “Then I rolled in a 15-footer on No. 10, then a 30-footer on No.11; the putts just kept dropping.”
Kennerly, who chose a tournament exemption in lieu of playing in the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic, credited his good play to his short game, which helped to save him many strokes.
“I hit it in the water on No. 9 in two, but I still managed to get up and down to save par,” Kennerly said. “I made a lot of putts out there today.”
In addition to Hassell and Kennerly, the following players earned spots in the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic: Ian Phillips of Acworth, Ga., David Mills of Evansville, Ind., Ryan Sather and Nick Edry, both of Augusta, Ga., Ross Slaughter of Clemmons, N.C., Victor Monte of Chantilly, Va., Todd McDaniel of Manchester, Ky., Thomas Payne of Mills River, N.C., Adam Morrison of Harrison, Tenn., Barrett Binion of Norcross, Ga., and Matthew Atkins of Owensboro, Ky.
In the Girls Division, Gilbert played a steady round of golf, despite going through some recent swing changes.
“I hit a lot of greens and fairways and I putted well,” Gilbert said. “I had a lot of 10-footers out there for birdies, but just couldn't get a lot of them to drop.”
Jordan Britt of Chattanooga, Tenn., and Ashlan Ramsey of Augusta, Ga., will be joining Gilbert in the field of the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic after posting rounds of 3-over-par 75 and 5-over-par 77 respectively.
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 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.
The opening round of the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic will be Tuesday, June 24 with tee times running off the first tee from 7:30 a.m. — 12:50 p.m. at Coosa Country Club. For more information about the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (706) 234-7131.