BURGOON RALLIES TO OVERTAKE LOVEMARK AND WIN IN SUDDEN-DEATH PLAYOFF
Pressel takes Girls Division on strength of final-round 70
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bronson Burgoon of The
Woodlands, Texas, pulled out a hard-fought victory at the Thunderbird
International Junior by carding a final-round 4-under-par 68, bringing
his tournament total to 206, and winning on the first hole of a
sudden-death playoff with second-round leader Jamie Lovemark of Rancho
Santa Fe, Calif. In the Girls Division, Morgan Pressel of Boca Raton,
Fla., came back from one stroke down entering Monday's final round to
win her third AJGA invitational in her last four tries.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the sixth
annual Thunderbird International Junior was held on the Raptor Course
at Grayhawk Golf Club. The tournament field was comprised of 84 boys
and girls ages 12-18 from 16 states and 12 foreign countries.
The Thunderbird International Junior annually attracts the top
junior golfers in the world with 50 Rolex Junior All-Americans present
this year. Past champions of the event include Virada Nirapathpongporn,
Ryan Moore, Casey Wittenberg, Brittany Lang and Rob Grube.
Monday's six-shot come-from-behind victory marked Burgoon's
second of his AJGA career, with his first coming earlier in 2005 at the
PING Junior at the Woodlands.
“I'm really lost for words,” Burgoon said. “I thought there
was an outside chance I would be able to contend today, but I really
didn't think I was actually going to win; especially with how well
Jamie (Lovemark) was playing.”
Lovemark, 17, made birdie on the 54th hole to force the
playoff by reaching the 521-yard, par-5 18th hole in two and holing out
in two putts.
Burgoon, who will be attending Texas A & M in the fall,
knew he had to do something special to come away with a victory. The
Aggie-to-be did do something special by booming a 340-yard drive down
the middle of the fairway on the par-5 18th.
“That was the biggest drive of my life,” Burgoon remarked. “I
wanted to make birdie, but I'll obviously settle for par and the win.”
Lovemark's rounds of 66-66-74—206 earned him second place. He
was followed in third by 2008-graduate Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla.
Rounding out the top-five was Philip Francis of Scottsdale, Ariz., who
placed fourth with a low-final round 67, bringing his tournament total
to 8-under-par 208, and Erik Flores of Grass Valley, Calif., who carded
a tournament total 210, good for fifth.
On the girls side, 17-year-old Morgan Pressel claimed the
title at an AJGA Invitational for the third time in her career,
bringing her career total to nine AJGA victories. Her previous
invitational wins came at the 2004 Polo Golf Junior Classic and the
2004 Rolex Tournament of Champions.
“In my opinion, it's the best international tournament in the
world with the strongest field. To come out on top after such a long
week, it means a lot,” the Rolex Junior All-American said. “It's an
AJGA major, it's a really prestigious event. Today, I played really
well from tee to green.”
Pressel began the day one stroke back of eventual runner-up
Azahara Munoz of San Pedro de Alcantara, Spain. But the 17-year-old
from Boca Raton, Fla., quickly found herself four strokes back of Munoz
after just four holes.
“It got away from me a bit, but I told myself to stay patient
and it would come,” Pressel said. “I got a little momentum back with
the three straight birdies but I followed that up by missing a
A stretch of three straight birdies by Pressel and a bogey by
Munoz pulled the duo together at 8-under-par. Pressel played steady
golf on the back nine to pull away from Munoz and seal the victory.
Trailing Munoz in third place was Mina Harigae of Monteray,
Calif. There was a tie for fourth place between Amanda Blumenherst of
Scottsdale, Ariz., and Juliana Murcia of Bogota, Columbia.
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 a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately
5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top 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 Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir,
Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park,
Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information about the Thunderbird International
Junior or the American Junior Golf Association, please contact AJGA
National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.