SPENCER WINS BOYS DIVISION IN THRILLING THREE-HOLE PLAYOFF
Choi holds on to win the Girls Division by four strokes
HUMBLE, Texas—The Fidelity Investments Junior Championship Boys Division could not be decided in 54 holes. Brett Spencer of Plano, Texas, defeated Cory Whitsett of Houston, in a thrilling three-hole playoff Thursday, after both finished with a three-round total of 5-under-par 211. Spencer prevailed on hole No. 11, the third playoff hole, after sinking a tap-in putt for par, while Whitsett carded a bogey. In the Girls Division, two-day leader Won Joo Choi of Temecula, Calif., continued consistent play shooting a 72, ending the tournament four strokes ahead of the second-place finisher Lisa McCloskey of Montgomery, Texas.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Fidelity Investments Junior Championship was held on The Jacobsen Hardy Course at Redstone Golf Club. The par-72 course was set up at 7155 yards for the Boys Division and 6008 yards for the Girls. The tournament field consisted of 62 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18 from 12 different states. The field included six Rolex Junior All-Americans and 68 Texas residents.
Spencer, who won The Justin Leonard/Deloitte Junior Team Championship in 2005, said he was not nervous heading into the playoff against Whitsett, but simply concentrated on hitting good shots and sinking putts. He also admitted that a little luck never hurts.
“I felt like luck just happens every once in awhile,” he said. “I definitely caught some luck out there today. It feels good (to win). It never feels bad (to win).”
His consistent play, however, can't solely be attributed to luck. Thursday he had four birdies to finish 1-under-par, Wednesday he carded a 4-under-par 68 and in the first round on Tuesday he shot even par.
Spencer's sudden-death playoff challenger, Whitsett, 14, was not upset over the one-stroke loss, and instead rationally discussed the last three holes.
“I was focusing on hitting good shots,” he said. I didn't get a good drive on 18 (the first playoff hole), but had a great shot after and then sunk the putt.” “(On the third hole of the play-off) he (Spencer) took advantage of my mistake.”
Rounding out the top five award winners in the Boys Division were John Peterson of Fort Worth, Texas, Johnathan Schnitzer of Houston, and Benjamin Thorseth of Richmond, Texas. Peterson and Schnitzer tied for third after shooting a three-day score of 214. Thorseth came in fifth at 215 after shooting 1-under-par in the final round.
Choi, who began golfing eight years ago in Korea, only moved to the United States two years ago after winning various events in her home country. The Fidelity Investments Junior Championship was her first AJGA win and first major win in the United States, but she hopes it is not her last. For the tournament, Choi carded a 207 after shooting 68 and 67 in rounds one and two.
“I was very nervous before the first tee, but I wasn't so bad after,” said Choi of her final-round jitters.
Following the first round of play, Choi's main goal was to try her best. Although she only carded one birdie for the day, she surpassed her modest goal.
“Today was my worst day, even though it wasn't really bad, but I started off worse than the other days,” she said.
Rounding out the top three finishers in the Girls Division were McCloskey and Sarah Zwartynski of Allen, Texas. McCloskey shot a final round 68 Thursday to finish second, while Zwartynski carded a 1-over-par 217 for the tournament and placed third.
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.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Candie Kung, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.
For more information on the Fidelity Investments Junior Championship, or any AJGA tournament, please contact the AJGA National Headquarters at (877) 373-2542.