Padova's seven final-round birdies solidify first AJGA victory at Golden Hills Golf & Turf Club
Brooks pulls ahead of Girls Division to win the Preseason Junior at Ocala
OCALA, Fla. — Austin Padova of Hudson, Fla., made five birdies on the back nine to clinch the win with a tournament total 5-under-par 139 at the Preseason Junior at Ocala hosted by Ocala-Marion Sports Commission. Sierra Brooks of Sorrento, Fla., broke a first-round tie to win the Girls Division, finishing with a 1-under-par 143.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Preseason Junior at Ocala hosted by Ocala-Marion Sports Commission was a 36-hole stroke play competition played at Golden Hills Golf & Turf Club in Ocala, Fla. The par-72 course played 6,683 yards for the boys and 5,732 for the girls. The 91-player field featured players from eight states, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Padova's breakaway win marks the first for the 17-year-old, who made birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 14 and finished with a 4-under-par 68 in the final round. After playing in his first AJGA event, Padova is taking in the moment, but also looking to the future.
“Winning this event is very special. There are a lot of good players here,” Padova said. “Now I'm going to try to win some of the bigger events.”
Ethan Wagner of Port Orange, Fla., shot 2-under-par 70 in the final round to take second place at 1-over-par 145 total. Riley Davenport of Woodstock, Ga., and Austen Truslow of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., tied for third with 2-over-par 146 tournament totals. Rounding out the top players in the Boys Division were Andrew Havill of Carmel, Ind., David Hicks of Gainesville, Fla., and Patrick Horsting of Surrey, United Kingdom, who each carded a 4-over-par 148 for the tournament.
Brooks shot the low final-round in the Girls Division with a 1-under-par 71 to garner her first AJGA event win. The 12-year-old stayed focused during her round and was able to make her mark on the tournament field.
“I played really solid golf and didn't really keep my eye on anyone but myself,” Brooks said. “It's awesome to win an AJGA event and it builds up my confidence.”
In the Girls Division, Florida natives held the top spots as Erica Stoner of Ocala, nabbed second place with 4-over-par 148 while Mika Liu of Bradenton, shot a 6-over-par 150 to take third.
The AJGA's Preseason Junior Series is designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet been accepted to or participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year.
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 provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 40 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
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. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
For more information about the Preseason Junior at Ocala hosted by Ocala-Marion Sports Commission, contact the AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.