KISHIGIAN WINS FIRST AJGA CHAMPIONSHIP AT COOSA COUNTRY CLUB
Kim takes Girls Division by five strokes
ROME, Ga. — Brian Kishigian, 18, of Warner Robins, Ga., fought off Michael Perlmutter, 18, of Rockville, Md., in the final round to take the Boys Division by four strokes for his first AJGA championship. Joy Kim, 15, of Duluth, Ga., led throughout Thursday's final round, winning her first AJGA championship at the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic with a three-day total of 207.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic features 99 players, 74 boys and 25 girls, ages 12-18 from 13 states and Peru. Forty-four juniors come from the host state of Georgia. The 54-hole stroke play event is in its 10th year at Coosa Country Club. While the Boys Division par is 70, the Girls Division par for the course is 71.
Starting the final round at nine-under and with a four-stroke lead, Kishigian found himself at 3-over-par on the day after the first nine holes and one stroke back of Perlmutter going into the back nine.
“I thought, ‘he just gained five shots in a few holes,'” Kishigian said of Perlmutter's front nine. “But I knew that I had plenty of golf to play, I just had to play solid.”
Kishigian came on strong on the way in, carding a bogey-free back nine with two birdies to combine for a 2-under-par 33, ending his round with a score of 1-over-par 71.
“It's about time” Kishigian said of his first win. “This is my last junior tournament, I figured I would go out and capitalize.”
Kishigian, who will be attending Georgia Southern University in the fall, finished with a three-day tournament total of 8-under-par 202. Kishigian's previous best AJGA finish was fourth at last year's Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic.
Perlmutter shot a 2-under-par 33 on his front nine to quickly close a four-stroke gap between himself and Kishigian, but would score a 3-over-par 38 on the back to end the round at 1-over-par 71. Perlmutter's three-day tournament total of 206 put him in second place on the leader board in the Boys Division.
Nuno Henriques of Bradenton, Fla., fired a final-round 68 to take third place. Henriques, Phillip Weaver of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Matthew Hammock of Savannah, Ga., all shared the low-final round award in the Boys Division with scores of 2-under-par 68.
Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division, Doug Kenny of Roswell, Ga., and Alex Boyd of Augusta, Ga., tied for fourth place with three-day totals of 211.
Coming into the Thursday's round with a two-stroke lead, Kim fired a 4-under-par 67 in the final round to take the championship by five strokes. Hitting 13 greens-in-regulation and 12 fairways, Kim carded five birdies on the round and was also awarded the low-final round award in the Girls Division.
“I just told myself to think about my round, not to think about other people's,” Kim said. “I just thought through every shot.”
After finishing third at last week's McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship, this victory is the first on Kim's resume.
“It feels pretty good,” said Kim of her first career AJGA win.
Jennifer Johnson of Carlsbad, Calif., fired a 2-under-par 69 during her final round to earn second place in the Girls Division with a three-day total of 212.
Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division, Jennifer Adyorough of Atlanta, Ga., took third place with a three-day total of 215.
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 regarding the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic or other AJGA events, please contact AJGA headquarters in Atlanta at (770) 868-4200.