VONGVANIJ EDGES OUT SWAFFORD IN SUDDEN-DEATH PLAYOFF
Consistency off the tee earns Schepperle first AJGA victory
RINGGOLD, Ga. Arnond Vongvanij of Bradenton, Fla., held off a final-round surge by Hudson Swafford of Tallahassee, Fla., to win the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic. Candace Schepperle of Hoover, Ala., captured her first American Junior Golf Association tournament victory with a 2-over-par 212.
Conducted by the AJGA, the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic was held at the WindStone Golf Club. Ninety-nine junior golfers from 14 states, Canada and Peru, including 37 from Georgia, competed in the 54-hole stroke play event.
In the Boys Division, Vongvanij said he thought he had secured the win when he lined up to putt on the 18th green at the WindStone Golf Club. When his 8-foot putt missed the hole and rolled 45 feet down the green, the eventual result was a double bogey. He said he was unaware he would have to face Swafford in a sudden-death playoff to win.
I thought I had actually won, Vongvanij said. I thought I was in control. Hudson played great today. I didn't know he was shooting really low numbers.
After firing matching 4-under-par 206s, Vongvanij and Swafford returned to the par-4 No. 18 hole where Swafford finished with a bogey and Vongvanij made par to clinch the win.
It's always my goal to try to make par. I wanted to stick with my game plan, play my own game and try my best, said Vongvanij, who dedicated his win to his parents.
Blake Stark of Canton, Ga., was third in the Boys Division with a 212. Tied for fourth were Kent Bulle of Glasgow, Ky., and Rob Bennett of Augusta, Ga., with 213s.
Going into the final round at 3-under-par 137, Schepperle maintained strong play with her irons and mental toughness to hold off a strong field. She finished the day with a 5-over-par 75, but it was enough to secure a four-stroke victory over Jennifer Hong of Windermere, Fla. Hong posted a three-day tournament score of 216. Kimberly Donovan of Hopkinton, Mass., was third in the Girls Division with a 217.
I'm excited to win an AJGA tournament. I feel I've broken through a mental barrier, which has really helped my self confidence, Schepperle said.
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 a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
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 Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information on the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic, call national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.