SPIETH COMES FROM BEHIND TO WIN THE PING INVITATIONAL
Tanco victorious by one stroke in Girls Division at Karsten Creek Golf Club
STILLWATER, Okla. â€” Jordan Spieth of Dallas shot a final-round, 4-under-par 68 Monday to overtake Cory Whitsett of Houston and claim victory at the 2008 PING Invitational. Victoria Tanco of Buenos Aires, Argentina, held off a final-round charge by Kristina Wong of Bradenton, Fla., to win the Girls Division by one stroke.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, The PING Invitational was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Karsten Creek Golf Club. The 78-player field featured players from 21 states, Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, Mexico and South Korea. The Boys Division played Karsten Creek Golf Club at 7,285 yards, while the Girls Division played at 6,273 yards.
Spieth started Monday's final round in third place, four shots back of Whitsett. Playing together in the final group, he caught Whitsett on No. 6, and took the lead with his fourth birdie on No. 7. Spieth held a one-shot lead until No. 16, and when Whitsett carded a triple-bogey all Spieth had to do was hold on until the end. The win is Spieth's third career AJGA victory.
â€śThis is the best round I have ever played in my life by far,â€ť Spieth said. â€śI was just on fire on the front nine with five birdies and no bogeys and played good enough on the back to hold off Cory.â€ť
Whitsett took second with a tournament-total, 3-over-par 219. Byeong-hun An of Bradenton, Fla., and Andrew Yun of Tacoma, Wash., finished tied for third with totals of 7-over-par 223. Cheng-Tsung Pan of Upland, Calif., finished in fifth with at 9-over-par 225.
Tanco's win in the Girls Division is her third victory in junior golf competition this year and her second AJGA Invitational of the year, the other coming at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship in June. Her round featured four birdies and 11 pars, Tanco credited the victory to consistency and continued improvement in her short game.
â€śIt feels great to win The PING Invitational, especially since I now have a very good chance at winning [Rolex Junior] Player of the Year,â€ť Tanco said. â€śMy birdies on Nos. 13, 15 and 17 were my best holes out there today, I made great putts on all three.â€ť
Wong finished in second with at 9-over-par 225. In third was Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., with a total of 11-over-par 227.
This week's tournament title partner, PING, designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of golf equipment including metal woods, irons, putters and golf bags. The family-owned company was founded in 1959 by the late Karsten Solheim. Solheim is the only person to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as a golf club manufacturer. Today, the Phoenix-based company is under the direction of Solheim's youngest son, John A. Solheim. PING game-improvement products can be found in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.pinggolf.com.
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.
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 and Morgan Pressel.
For more information on The PING Invitational, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.