MESSER EARNS MEDALIST HONORS ON BIRTHDAY IN PALM HARBOR
Wilson also fires a 69 to earn medalist honors in Boys Division
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — In her first AJGA event and on her 15th birthday, Andrea Messer of Belleair, Fla., fired a 1-under-par 69 to claim medalist honors at Sunday's Srixon Qualifier, earning her one of four spots into the championship field of the First American Title Junior Classic. Chris Wilson of Tulsa, Okla., also earned medalist honors for the first time in an AJGA event, also firing a 69 to qualify him for one of 10 positions into the Boys Division.
The First American Title Junior Classic Srixon Qualifier, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, featured 54 boys and 14 girls — ages 12 to 18 — competing for a total of 14 spots in this week's championship field. The Westin Innisbrook Resort — Highlands North Course hosted the event, while the 54-hole championship will be held at The Westin Innisbrook Resort — Copperhead Course.
Messer began her birthday with a birdie on No. 18, and said her goal for the rest of the day was to stay under par. Throughout the round, Messer remained at or below par and followed each of her three bogeys with a birdie.
“I just wanted to qualify, I wasn't trying to win,” Messer said. “It means a lot to be medalist. It gives me confidence going into my first tournament.”
Other qualifiers in the Girls Division include Michelle Shin of Cape Coral, Fla., at 77, Sherlyn Popelka of Lake Mary, Fla., at 78, and Evan Jensen of Belleair, Fla., at 81. Three players also chose to accept a Tournament Exemption in lieu of entrance into this week's field: Elisa Aoki of Nagoya-City, Japan, shot 73 and finished second, Jordyn Hage of Winter Park, Fla., shot 75 for third, and Madison Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla., shot 78 for a tie for fifth.
Wilson claimed medalist honors in the Boys Division, also for the first time, and said it was nice to win an event after a “dry spell.”
“This feels amazing. These events are the toughest tournaments in the world for juniors, and I just want to be put out there and get my name out there,” Wilson said.
The nine remaining positions in the Boys Division were filled by players at 75 or better. Eric Shaw of Longwood, Fla. shot even-par 70 for second place, while Carlos Velez of Miami fired a 71 for a tie for fourth. Four players shot 73, earning their way into the championship field: Austin Starrett of Tulsa, Okla., Byron White of Bradenton, Fla., Bryant Kang of Longwood, Fla., and Andrew Brauer of Arlington, Texas. Rounding out the list of qualifiers are David Feeley of Phoenix, Md., at 74, Adam Rhodes of Jacksonville, N.C., and Mike Harman of Windermere, Fla., at 75.
Seven players chose to accept a Tournament Exemption in place of entrance into the First American Title Junior Classic, including second-place finisher Troy Byun of Lake Mary, Fla., who shot a round of 70 and Michael Cain of Orlando, Fla., who shot 71. Doug Gordon of Winter Park, Fla., Josh Leppo of Naples, Fla., Phillip Choi of Orlando, Fla., and Eric Johannsen of Naples, Fla. each registered a 72, while R. Graham Bradshaw of Vero Beach, Fla., shot a 74 and also earned a Tournament Exemption.
SRIXON Sports USA, Inc., based in Norcross, Ga., has been distributing premium golf balls and equipment in the U.S. since 1997 and is a subsidiary of SRI Sports. SRI Sports is one of the world's leading patent holders in golf ball technology and manufactures several golf balls played in the United States. SRI Sports-made balls have won 73 PGA TOUR events since 1989, including seven majors. For more information about SRIXON, please visit www.srixon.com.
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.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
The 54-hole championship begins on Tuesday, June 28, with tee-times running from 7:30 — 9:27 a.m. For more information on the First American Title Junior Classic, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (727) 942-2000, ext. 2760.