COLE COMES FROM BEHIND TO WIN MIZUNO JUNIOR AT CHATEAU ELAN
Ellenbogen holds on for first AJGA victory in Girls Division
BRASELTON, Ga. — Spencer Cole of Greer, S.C., birdied No. 17 and overcame a late three-stroke deficit to win his third AJGA title Sunday at the Mizuno Junior at Chateau Elan. In the Girls Division, Courtney Ellenbogen, of Blacksburg, Va., led wire-to-wire and won her first AJGA tournament.
A morning frost delay shortened the final round to nine holes, forcing the Girls Division to finish its 45-hole tournament on the par-36 front nine, while the Boys Division completed its 36-hole tournament on the par-35 back nine.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 14th annual Mizuno Junior at Chateau Elan featured 87 boys and 45 girls — ages 12-18 — from 24 states and six foreign countries.
After a birdie on No. 11, Cole carded three consecutive bogeys and fell behind Wesley Graham of Port Orange, Fla., by three shots with four holes to play. Cole rebounded with a birdie on No. 17 and a difficult par on the finishing hole, while Graham closed with bogeys on three of the final four holes, leaving Cole with the victory at 3-over-par 145 (72-37-36).
“I came out trying to make birdies because I didn't think the course would play as hard as it did,” Cole said. “I had a good warm-up session, and everything went my way today. If Wesley hadn't had as many three-putts, it'd all be different. It's unfortunate for Wes.”
Graham, who has recorded a top-10 finish in every AJGA event that he has entered, finished second at 4-over-par 146 (70-37-39). Jake An of Centreville, Va. (71-41-35), Brooks Koepka of Wellington, Fla. (75-37-35), and Bobby Wyatt of Mobile, Ala. (72-39-36) tied for third at 5-over-par 147.
In the Girls Division, Ellenbogen finished at 4-over-par 181 (69-73-39) and withstood a comeback bid by Sally Watson of South Queensferry, Scotland. Trailing by four shots entering the final round, Watson cut the deficit to one with three holes to play, but Ellenbogen's putter stayed hot and carried her to a two-shot victory.
“I was putting well all week and I knew I had the game to win,” Ellenbogen said, who parred the final three holes en route to her victory. “This win will give me confidence for the rest of the year and hopefully I'll be able to put up some more good tournaments.”
Watson played a steady final nine holes, carding eight pars in her round of 37, and finished second at 6-over-par 183 (70-76-37). Evan Jensen of Belleair, Fla., carded a 1-under-par 35 on Sunday and finished the tournament in third with a score of 10-over-par 187 (73-79-35).
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 49 states and 30 foreign countries.
Mizuno Corporation is one of the world's largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers. Mizuno manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, track & field, and volleyball equipment, apparel and footwear for international markets. Mizuno USA is based in Norcross, Ga.
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, Brittany Lincicome, Julieta Granada, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
For more information on the Mizuno Junior at Chateau Elan, please call AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.