AT 8-UNDER-PAR, KANSAS CITY NATIVE ZECH WINS FIRST CAREER AJGA EVENT
Big putt wins it for Sylvan at Lockton/Capitol Federal Kansas City Junior
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ryan Zech of Kearney, Mo., shot 2-under-par 70 in the final round Thursday to win the Lockton/Capitol Federal Kansas City Junior at 8-under-par 208. Katie Sylvan of San Diego, came from two shots behind to claim the Girls Division title by one stroke at 10-over-par 226.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Lockton/Capitol Federal Kansas City Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Oakwood Country Club. The tournament field featured 74 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 21 states and Canada. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,522 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at 6,038 yards.
Zech notched his first AJGA victory in his very first career AJGA event. The Kearney High School sophomore led the field all three rounds. He made three birdies in a row on Nos. 2, 3, and 4 cruising to the win by a three-stroke margin. Despite his lack of experience in AJGA final rounds, Zech was relaxed on the final holes of the tournament.
“It's nice walking down No. 18 when you don't have to sweat out a par to win by one-stroke,” the 15-year-old said. “I was a little nervous early on but it's a great feeling now that it's over.”
Ryan Marks of Warrensburg, Mo., and Kevin Gillick of Scottsdale, Ariz., tied for second shooting 5-under-par 211. In fourth was Curtis Yonke of Overland Park, Kan., at 2-under-par 214. Tyler Brown of Lee's Summit, Mo., and Harry Higgs of Overland Park, tied for fifth at even-par 216.
In the Girls Division, Sylvan remained calm under pressure, sinking a nine-foot putt for par and the win on the toughest hole of the week, No. 18. Her birdie putt on No. 17 from 14 feet away was just as important in her effort. Sylvan carded 12 pars and hit 14 greens on the day. She credits the winning putt to her father who had her practicing similar putts the day before.
“My dad and I were on the practice green yesterday and he told me it's much tougher to make left-to-right breaking putts so I practiced them for an hour,” said Sylvan, who has made a verbal commitment to the University of Virginia. “It was easy to make that putt on No. 18 today because of that.”
This was Sylvan's third career AJGA tournament win. Her previous wins include the 2006 Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek, and the 2007 Dalhousie Junior Championship.
Kristina Nhim of Buena Park, Calif., Kelsey Kipp of Tyler, Texas, Elizabeth Doty of Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., and Jacqueline Chang of Paradise Valley, Ariz., tied for second at 11-over-par 227.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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 is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information about the Lockton/Capitol Federal Kansas City Junior, please contact National Headquarters at (770)-868-4200.