GRILLO, BECK, RAH, JOHNSON TAKE CO-MEDALIST HONORS IN STROKE PLAY AT POLO GOLF JUNIOR CLASSIC
Top 32 in each division advance to match play at Ginn Reunion Resort
REUNION, Fla. — Emiliano Grillo of Resistencia, Argentina, and Evan Beck of Virginia Beach, Va., claimed top honors in the Boys Division after stroke play with totals of 9-under-par 135 at the Polo Golf Junior Classic Tuesday. Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., and Jennifer Johnson of La Quinta, Calif., both finished with totals of 5-under-par 139 to share the top spot in the Girls Division. Grillo and Rah will take the No. 1 seeds into Wednesday's first round of match play at Ginn Reunion Resort's Legacy (Palmer) and Independence (Watson) courses.
The Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been conducted annually since 1978, marks the first tournament of the American Junior Golf Association's 2009 season. The 156-player invitation-only field is made up of boys and girls, ages 12-18, from 25 states and 12 foreign countries. Former champions include Stewart Cink (1989), Trevor Immelman (1995), Tiger Woods (1991), Paula Creamer (2002), Grace Park (1994, 1996) and Morgan Pressel (2004).
Grillo, a co-leader after the first round Monday, carded a 1-under-par 71 on the Independence (Watson) course. His round featured two birdies against one bogey and he was happy that his steady play continued over from Monday.
“I played really well, not as great as yesterday, but I am still happy with how it went,” Grillo said. “This will be my third consecutive week in match play. The last two have gone great so I'm excited for the rest of the week.”
Beck, champion of the Junior PLAYERS in September, used birdies on his final two holes to surge to the top of the leaderboard. He closed stroke play with a 2-under-par 70 and earned Boys Division co-medalist honors with Grillo.
“Today I was able to just hit the greens and consistently two-putt, after hitting a bunch of long putts yesterday,” Beck said. “My game was steady all day and I was just relaxed and having fun.”
Finishing in a tie for third at 8-under-par 136 were Patrick Winther of Rungsted Kyst, Denmark, and Jordan Spieth of Dallas. Cory Whitsett of Houston, finished fifth with a total of 5-under-par 139.
In the Girls Division, Rah had a strong start to her day, finishing her front side at 3-under-par. She carded four birdies and only one bogey in her round to finish with a 3-under-par 69. Rah, who will play golf for Oklahoma State in the fall of 2009, said she remained focused and played consistently throughout the day.
“I was hitting a lot of greens, giving me great looks for birdies and pars,” Rah said. “Match play hasn't been nice to me lately, but I'm excited to see what happens. I just want to stay consistent.”
Johnson, who has signed a National Letter of Intent with Arizona State, finished with a second round of 2-under-par 70. She shot 1-under-par on each side of the Legacy (Palmer) course and finished with four birdies compared to two bogeys.
“I hit a great 30-foot putt for birdie on my second hole and I was able to keep up my great short game throughout the day,” Johnson said. “I didn't make all of the birdies I could have but I'm happy with the week so far and I'm excited for match play.”
Finishing tied for third in the Girls Division, with totals of 4-under-par 140, were Stephanie Kim of Orlando, Fla., and Tiffany Lua of Rowland Heights, Calif. Jung Min Lee of Seoul, South Korea, finished fifth with a 3-under-par 141.
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.
Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE: RL) is a leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories and fragrances. For more than 40 years, Polo's reputation and distinctive image have been consistently developed across an expanding number of products, brands and international markets. The Company's brand names, which include “Polo by Ralph Lauren”, “Ralph Lauren Purple Label”, “Ralph Lauren Collection”, “Black Label”, “Blue Label”, “Lauren by Ralph Lauren”, “Polo Jeans Co.”, “RRL”, “RLX”, “Rugby”, “Ralph Lauren Childrenswear”, “American Living”, “Chaps”, and “Club Monaco” among others, constitute one of the world's most widely recognized families of consumer brands. For more information, go to http://investor.ralphlauren.com.
Match play tee times will begin Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., while afternoon matches will begin at noon. The Girls Division will play its first round match on the Legacy (Palmer) Course, while all other Girls and Boys Division matches will be held on the Independence (Watson) Course. For more information about the Polo Golf Junior Classic, please contact Tournament Director Andrew Greenfield at (770) 601-8922.