HINES SEALS VICTORY IN SUDDEN-DEATH PLAYOFF AT CALLAWAY GARDENS
Alexander's Steady Game Clinched Girls Division Title in AJGA Junior All-Star Event
PINE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — Michael Hines of Acworth, Ga., and Amira Alexander of Alpharetta, Ga., each came from behind Thursday to finish victorious at the Junior All-Star at Callaway Gardens Thursday.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Callaway Gardens was a 54-hole tournament at Callaway Gardens — Mountain View Course. The field was made up of 81 top juniors from 17 states and Colombia. The Boys Division played the course at 6,967 yards and the Girls Division played at 5,952 yards.
The Boys Division leaders kept the final holes exciting as they battled for the win. Hines, Hank Lebioda of Winter Springs, Fla., and Winburne Hughes of Memphis, Tenn., finished final-round play tied at 6-over-par 222. In a sudden-death playoff, Hines came up victorious with a 20-foot birdie putt on the first hole, after carding a final round of 1-over-par 73.
“In the actual round I had a similar putt on the same hole and left it just short right on the line,” Hines said. “I tried to hit the same putt but a little harder and it was perfect speed right in the center. I kept telling myself that I was going to make it, but when it went in I was shocked and so excited.”
Lebioda and Hughes earned second-place finishes, while Jimmy Beck of Columbus, Ga., and Wade Chen of Orlando, Fla., finished tied for fourth at 8-over-par 224.
Alexander stayed composed throughout the day as she played consistent golf to earn the victory. Shooting a tournament-low 73 in the final round, Alexander finished the tournament at 10-over-par 226.
“I fixed a lot of mistakes I had during the first couple rounds and stayed calm today,” Alexander said. “I hit the greens today and it worked. It feels good to have a win to start off the summer.”
Lakareber Abe of Angleton, Texas, kept the competition tight for Alexander throughout the tournament and finished in second place, two strokes back at 12-over-par 228. Rounding out the top-three was Marissa Dodd of Allen, Texas, at 16-over-par 232.
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 50 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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 Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series is a collection of eleven events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 and presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into Open tournaments. Juniors are limited to a maximum combination of five AJGA Open and Junior All-Star Series events during a calendar year. The series concludes with the Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, a full-time junior golf training and development program, enters its first year as an Official Partner of the AJGA. The partnership features an endowment of an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which will provide juniors access to national competitive golf opportunities.
For more information about the Junior All-Star at Callaway Gardens, contact AJGA National headquarters at 770-868-4200.
# AJGA #