MELVIN BESTS FIELD BY ONE TO CLAIM TOP HONORS AT RICHTER PARK
Lee shoots even-par to lead the Girls Division
DANBURY, Conn. – Christopher Melvin, 16, of Medfield, Mass., took medalist honors in Monday’s qualifier after carding a 1-over-par 73 to earn a spot in the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network – Blumberg Group Junior Classic. Suzie Lee, 16, of East Northport, N.Y., posted an even-par 72 to medal in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 18-hole stroke-play qualifier featured 88 boys and 12 girls — ages 12-18 — each trying to "play their way in" to the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network – Blumberg Group Junior Classic or build their status within the AJGA's Performance Based Entry system. Monday's qualifier gave 20 boys and two girls the opportunity to gain entry into the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network – Blumberg Group Junior Classic, which begins Tuesday, August 5.
Melvin, who is choosing to take a tournament exemption in lieu of playing in the event, managed the challenging Richter Park Golf Course well, hitting fairways and greens and making crucial putts. The golf course demanded good ball striking, which Melvin said was key to helping him score.
“When I had a weird lie, I was hitting good shots,” Melvin said. “These were shots that I don’t think I could do again.”
The following players have qualified to play in the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network – Blumberg Group Junior Classic: Jeffrey Hsiao of San Diego, Jake Mahoney of Newton, Mass., Joe Toland of White River Junction, Vt., Cal Hedberg of South Windsor, Conn., Michael Brofft of Spring City, Pa., Anthony Alex of Wayne, N.J., Chris Wiatr of Woodbury, Conn., Andrew Jankowski of Elkins, N.H., Patrick Gocklin of Manchester, N.H., Jason Zhou of Skillman, N.J., Joseph D’Amato of Weston, Conn., Daniel Costenbader of Palmerton, Pa., Patrick Collins of Floral Park, N.Y., Jisoo Park of Dix Hills, N.Y., Ian Thimble of Hyde Park, Mass., Tyler Fay of Barrington, R.I., Jesse Bingaman of Nazareth, Pa., John Hough of Briar Cliff Manor, N.Y., Kenny Chong of Bradenton, Fla., and Gloren Roper of Washington, D.C.
In the Girls Division, Lee struggled with her putting, but still managed to card five birdies. Lee, who is also choosing to take a tournament exemption, set herself up well with solid tee shots.
“My drives were awesome,” Lee said. “I was bombing it out there like 260 yards, but I still definitely could have done better.”
Harin Lee of Bayside, N.Y., shot a 6-over-par 78 to earn a spot in the tournament. Stephanie Frankian of Watertown, Mass., will be joining her in the field after posting an 11-over-par 83.
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 Northwestern Mutual Financial Network – Blumberg Group Junior Classic is Wednesday, August 6 with tee times running off Nos. 1 and 10 tee from 7 — 8:39 a.m. and Noon — 1:39 p.m. at Richter Park Golf Course. For more information about the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network – Blumberg Group Junior Classic, please contact Tournament Director Lauren Shelly at (770) 298-4411.