THOMAS WINS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR AT BELLEFONTE COUNTRY CLUB
Martindale comes from behind to claim third career AJGA win at Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior
ASHLAND, Ky. — Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., captured his second straight victory Friday at the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior after carding a 12-under-par 198. Kendall Martindale of Jefferson City, Tenn., came from three strokes back to win the Girls Division at 9-over-par 219.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Bellefonte Country Club in Ashland, Ky. The field featured 90 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, from 20 states, Canada and Taiwan. The par-70 course was played at 6,034 yards in the Boys Division and 5,627 yards in the Girls Division.
Thomas came into the tournament on a hot streak following last week's win at the FootJoy Invitational and has taken home back-to-back victories at this tournament. After winning last year, Thomas knew he could do it again and proved himself after firing a 6-under-par 29 on the back nine.
“The front nine was a bit of a struggle, and I couldn't break apart from everyone and capitalize like I wanted to,” Thomas said. “On the back nine I felt comfortable and could see the putts going in.”
Playing for his fourth consecutive year in the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, this tournament means a lot to Thomas.
“I've had success here and I know so many people, it's like home for me,” Thomas said. “I told my mom I wanted to get on the board twice because I saw it when I first came here and remember how cool I thought that was.”
Finishing five strokes behind Thomas in second place was Jared Flanery of Sandy Hook, Ky., at 7-under-par 203. Andrew Cho of Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., came in at 3-under-par 207 to finish third. Tied for fourth was Wesley Gosselin of Knoxville, Tenn., and Parker Page of Louisville, Ky., at even-par 210.
In the Girls Division, Martindale started the tournament seven strokes behind first- and second-round leader Emma Talley. Refusing to give up, Martindale kept her game steady, chipping away at Talley's lead over the course of the last two rounds.
“I gained four strokes back on Emma yesterday so I knew it could be done again,” Martindale said. “I got an eagle on No. 5 from 140 yards out. If you have a good hole on this course you put it in your pocket and save it for later. The front nine got me ahead of the other girls and I just kept it going on the back.”
Allison Emrey of Charlotte, N.C., and Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., rounded out the top three girls after tying for second at 11-over-par 221.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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 on the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.
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