ANDERSON CLINCHES BOYS DIVISION BY TWO, SHOOTING TOURNAMENT-LOW 4-UNDER-PAR 68
Belcher secures win, shooting even-par 72, three-day 217
PENSACOLA, Fla. â€” Following a short weather delay, Rosson Anderson, 18, of Birmingham, Ala., fired a 4-under-par 68 to finish with a 211 tournament total and the victory of the inaugural Jerry Pate/Andrews Institute Southern Junior. Leading after the first and second rounds, Kellye Belcher of Bartlett, Tenn., held on to the top position in the Girls Division after shooting an even-par 72 during the final round of play.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Jerry Pate/Andrews Institute Southern was held at A.C. Read Golf Club â€” Bayou and Lakeview Courses. The par-72 course was set up at 6,846 yards for the Boys Division and 6,020 yards for the Girls Division. The tournament field consisted of 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18, representing 14 states, including 41 Florida residents.
In his second-ever AJGA event and first-ever AJGA win, Anderson, who has verbally committed to Auburn University, started the final round off on a positive note, holing out for eagle on No. 1.
â€śI was 131 yards out and used my 9-iron,â€ť said Anderson who was tied for third after round two. â€śI knew it was going to be close if not in. It was definitely a good way to start off the day.â€ť
Anderson made birdie on hole No. 16 to go from 4-under to 5-under for the tournament, ultimately sealing the win, as Logan Blondell of Lakeland, Fla., remained at 3-under-par 215 for the tournament. Overall he credited his final-round success to making more putts than he did the first and second rounds, maintaining his focus, and hitting the ball well.
â€śI woke up and told my dad that if I shot a 3-under-par 69, it would do it,â€ť said Anderson who shot the low ound of the day with a 68.
Blondell earned a second place finish after he birdied the first two holes of the day, and shot a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine. He proceeded to add a 1-over-par 37 on the back nine, totaling 213 after three rounds. Two individuals tied for third place shooting 1-under-par 215 for the tournament. Kenny Leech of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Sam Chien of San Diego fired scores of 70 and 72, respectively. Standing in fifth place, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., was Phillip Weaver who carded a 2-under-par 70 for the final round and even-par 216 for the tournament.
Heading into the final round of play, Belcher, who graduated earlier this spring, used her mental strength to give her an edge over the other competitors. Keeping a clear head and maintaining composure, she said, would help her focus on the shot at hand and not on the excitement surrounding her.
â€śAlthough I was slightly nervous going into the round, I continuously told myself that I had to play hard to win,â€ť said Belcher. â€śI tried to trick my brain. I knew I couldn't be too conservative, but I couldn't get carried away with my shots, so I found a balance.â€ť
Belcher, who graduated earlier this spring and will be attending Indiana University in the fall to continue her golf career, made birdies on hole Nos. 2, 5 and 8 to score a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine and a three-day total of 217. In addition to hitting 10 fairways and 16 greens, Belcher conquered her biggest challenge, which was to not be affected by the outside elements associated with leading after two rounds. As for concluding thoughts on the win, Belcher was simply proud of her performance.
â€śIt's awesome,â€ť she said. â€śIt is great knowing that all this practice I've been putting in this last month has actually paid off.â€ť
Erica Still of Waycross, Ga., made three birdies on the front nine to shoot 2-under-par 34, later adding a 1-over-par 37 on the back nine to tie for the low-round of the day with 71. Overall, Still finished at 219 after three rounds to give her a second place finish in the tournament. Andrea Messer of Largo, Fla., carded 75-72-74, for a three-day total of 221 and a third place finish.
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 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, Candie Kung, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.
For more information on the Jerry Pate/Andrews Institute Southern Junior, or any other event, please call AJGA tournament headquarters at (770) 868-4200.