Hall hangs on to win The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf
17-year-old claims first AJGA victory, Nationwide Tour exemption
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — In an up-and-down final round that featured four two- or three-shot swings in the final group, Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y., prevailed with a 3-under-par total and won his first AJGA Invitational at The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf. With the victory, Hall earned a sponsor's exemption to the Nationwide Tour's Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open Presented by Planters, which will be played Oct. 17-23 on Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass.
In cooperation with the PGA TOUR, the American Junior Golf Association brought 78 players, ages 12-18, from 21 states and 15 foreign countries to TPC Sawgrass for a special junior golf experience. The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf was mirrored after THE PLAYERS, and the 7,215-yard, par-72 layout on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course matched the set-up used at the PGA TOUR event.
After a bogey on the par-5 ninth cut his lead to one, Hall rebounded and took advantage of the par-5s on the back nine. A two-putt birdie on No. 11 increased his lead to three over Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., and then an up-and-down birdie on No. 16 produced a two-shot cushion over Jonathan Garrick of Atherton, Calif.
Protecting a two-shot lead on the 18th tee, Hall pulled his drive into the right rough. With the aid of a strong wind at his back, he hoisted a 180-yard 9-iron over a tree and onto the front edge of the green. From there he three-putted for bogey, but a final-round 75 was enough to preserve a one-shot victory.
“It was a difficult day out there. The wind started to blow and I was definitely nervous on the first couple holes,” Hall said. “My caddie Mark was a great help this week. He caddied for me last year so it was pretty cool having him back.”
In six weeks, Hall will return to TPC Sawgrass to compete in the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open Presented by Planters. It will be his Nationwide Tour debut, but the 17-year-old has professional experience, having played in the 2010 Turning Stone Resort Championship.
“It's going to be a lot of fun, especially here. This is great weather, great people and a great community,” Hall said. “I kind of got my feet wet last year playing in the PGA TOUR event, and I think coming up this year I'll be a little more prepared. I learned a lot about myself, especially how to handle my nerves and emotions.”
Garrick and Liu were Hall's primary challengers during Sunday's final round. After a front-nine 33, Garrick eagled No. 16 to pull within one shot at the time. He parred Nos. 17 and 18 for a final-round 68 and a 2-under-par total, which was the score to beat with just six players left on the course.
For Liu, the driver was his undoing in the end. When Hall made back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14, Liu countered with a birdie and a par and knotted the score at 3-under-par with four holes remaining. However, poor drives on Nos. 15 and 16 led to a bogey and a double-bogey, and ultimately a T3 finish.
“This entire year my driving has been pretty errant, so that's cost me a lot of tournaments,” Liu said. “Other than that I played pretty well and I'm happy with my game, and Gavin deserves this after coming back from his injury. This is a great way to start.”
Gavin Moynihan of Maynooth, Ireland, carded a final-round 72 and finished tied for third with Liu at 1-over-par. Scott Scheffler of Dallas fired a 3-under-par 69 and moved 18 spots up the leaderboard to finish fifth.
For more information about The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf, please contact Chris Richards (firstname.lastname@example.org) at (678) 644-4258, or visit ajga.org.
About the PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is the world's premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 100 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour.
The PGA TOUR's mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players. In 2011, the three Tours collectively have tournaments in 29 states and in 12 countries and territories outside of the United States. PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to approximately 500 million households in 224 countries and territories in 29 languages.
Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2010, tournaments on the three Tours generated more than $120 million for local charitable organizations, bringing the TOUR's all-time total of charitable contributions to more than $1.6 billion. The PGA TOUR's web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
About TPC Sawgrass
TPC Sawgrass opened in 1980 as the first Tournament Players Club, conceived by then-PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman to provide a TOUR-owned, world-class tournament facility that would offer fans the ultimate viewing experience, as well as give golfers an opportunity to play where the pros play. It became the permanent home of THE PLAYERS Championship in 1982, and today is recognized as one of the great venues in championship golf. THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, designed by Pete Dye, annually is ranked among the world's top golf courses. Dye's Valley, designed by Dye in collaboration with Jerry Pate and Bobby Weed, opened in 1987.
TPC Sawgrass underwent a major year-long renovation that was completed in November 2006. In addition to the installation of a state-of-the-art drainage and irrigation system on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, an elegant 77,000 square-foot Mediterranean Revival-style clubhouse was built to accommodate the growing needs and stature of THE PLAYERS, as well as those of a world-class resort. TPC Sawgrass also features the state-of-the-art TOUR Academy teaching facility, which opened in 2007. For more information, please visit www.tpc.com/sawgrass.
About TaylorMade Golf Company, Inc. dba TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company
TaylorMade Golf has led the golf industry's technological revolution since the company was founded in 1979. TaylorMade metalwoods, irons and putters have been used to win hundreds of professional golf tournaments around the world. In 1998, TaylorMade became a wholly owned subsidiary of the adidas Group. adidas Golf creates high-performance, technology-infused golf apparel and footwear worn by hundreds of professional golfers around the world. Ashworth, which became a brand of the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company in 2008, creates relaxed, lifestyle-oriented golf apparel synonymous with authenticity and quality. Learn more about TaylorMade-adidas Golf and its brands at (866) 530-TMAG (8624) or www.taylormadegolf.com, www.adidasgolf.com, www.ashworthgolf.com, and www.tmag.com.
About the adidas Group
The adidas Group is one of the global leaders within the sporting goods industry offering a broad range of products across the three core brands adidas, Reebok and TaylorMade-adidas Golf. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, the Group has more than 39,000 employees and generated sales of EUR 11.990 billion in 2010.
About the AJGA
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 provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 40 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, 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. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel