LESSING’S AJGA CLASSIC
Rockaway Hunting Club
Lawrence, New York
July 25-29, 2004
BRADLEY USES BLAZING BACK-NINE TO WIN LESSING’S AJGA CLASSIC
Tomimbang wins Girls Division in dramatic fashion on second playoff hole
LAWRENCE, N.Y. – In eight AJGA events, only once had Keegan Bradley finished outside of the top 20 – but victory had always been elusive. After a back-nine 32 at the Lessing’s AJGA Classic, that is no longer the case.
Bradley, of Hopkinton, Mass., overcame early struggles to win the Boys Division by two strokes, finishing at 6-over-par 216. Andrew Giuliani of New York, N.Y., finished second after a final-round 72, while Timothy Driver of Penn Laird, Va., and Eric Lo of Taiwan finished tied for third.
In the Girls Division, Mayule Tomimbang of Kissimmee, Fla., out-dueled Abigale Schepperle of Hoover, Ala., on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to also win her first AJGA title.
The Lessing’s AJGA Classic was a 54-hole tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Rockaway Hunting Club in Lawrence, N.Y. The tournament featured 84 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-18, from 11 states and Taiwan, including 20 from New York.
Bradley began his final round tied with Lo for the lead, but after bogies on his first two holes and a triple-bogey on the par-4 ninth, he had fallen well of the pace
“On No. 10, I just said, ‘Let’s do it’,” Bradley said. “Eric started to have some trouble and I started to make some long putts on the back nine.”
A birdie on No. 10 got Bradley started, and birdies on Nos. 12 and 15 pulled him back into contention. As the rest of the field began to fall back, Bradley began to surge. Three pars down the stretch proved enough to break a three-way tie with Giuliani and Lo and propel Bradley to victory.
“This is the greatest feeling I’ve ever had,” said Bradley, who will attend St. John’s University. “I’ve been dreaming about this since as long as I can remember. What topped it off was having my mother and my St. John’s golf coach watching – and I’m sure my dad was on the phone getting scoring updates all day long.”
Giuliani, who led after the first round, was tied for the lead at one point on the back nine. Despite struggling on Rockaway Hunting Club’s finishing holes, he still managed to post his best AJGA finish. Lo and Driver also had their best AJGA finishes, finishing three shots back at 9-over-par 219. Cody Paladino of Kensington, Conn., and Peter Deltondo of Laguna Hills, Calif., finished tied for fifth at 10-over-par 220.
Tomimbang and Schepperle traded the lead several times on the back nine in the Girls Division, but both stood atop the tee box at No. 18 tied at 10-over-par. After two pars to finish regulation play, the pair opened the playoff with bogeys at the par-4 first hole.
But on the second playoff hole, Tomimbang found the fairway off the tee while Schepperle pushed her drive into the trees to the right. After scrambling to the green, Schepperle missed a 15-foot putt for par and opened the door for Tomimbang to roll in the winning putt.
“I was really nervous when I started, but I calmed down over the last few holes,” said the 17-year-old Tomimbang, whose previous best finish was a tie for third at the 2003 Steel City Junior. “I had a really good match with Abigale – it kept going back and forth. After the front nine, I knew it would be down to us.”
Schepperle, playing in her final AJGA event before beginning her college golf career at Auburn University, still claimed her best AJGA finish. Kaitlin Conway of Wading River, N.Y., rebounded from an opening-round 85 to shoot rounds of 68 and 71 and finish alone in third place.
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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, 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, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Christie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information about the Lessing’s AJGA Classic, please contact AJGA headquarters at (770) 868-4200.
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