NIKE GOLF JUNIOR AT LOUISVILLE
Persimmon Ridge Golf Club
August 2 – 5, 2004
FOWLER CLAIMS VICTORY BY ONE-STROKE
Louisville native Smith claims Girls Division title
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A little good luck went a long way for Rickie Fowler who held onto his lead by one stroke and finished the final round with a tournament total of 1-under-par 215, claiming the Boys Division title at the Nike Golf Junior at Louisville. Jessica Smith outlasted her competition in the final round and picked up the Girls Division title with a tournament total of 12-over-par 228.
The Nike Golf Junior at Louisville was a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The event featured 81 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-15, from 23 states. The field was composed of eight Kentucky natives.
It was a big week for Fowler, 15, of Murrieta, Calif., who played in and won his first AJGA event.
“It’s a big accomplishment,” he said. “AJGA tournaments are some of the hardest ones out there to win. It feels great to pick up the title, especially after this round.”
Fowler hit four fairways and seven greens in the final round and still managed to stay ahead to secure his lead. Despite the struggle, a dramatic ending through Nos. 17 and 18 is what made the victory such a relief.
“After the front nine I was up by two strokes,” he said. “Then I was three-up until No.16. Going into No. 17 I was one-down and I knew I needed to make birdies on the final holes. I ended up making par on both, but luckily my competition missed putts on Nos. 17 and 18 and gave me the win.”
In second place is Dusty Koth of Bloomington, Ill., with a tournament total of 216. In third place at 217 is Jay Vandeventer of Bristol, Va. Behind him in fourth place are Will Ovenden of Spartanburg, S.C., Martin Bunt of Pensacola, Fla., and Ian Gilley of Flossmoor, Ill., with tournament totals of 222.
Smith, 15, of Louisville, Ky., also found sweet victory with her first AJGA win.
“I’m very excited and very proud,” she said. “Going into the tournament I knew I had to shoot in the 70s all three rounds. I let it slip in the final round, but still managed to come out on top.”
Smith credits her final round victory to her great start. Going into the final round with a three-stroke lead, she knew she had a good shot and was proud to say that she kept ahead. On No. 1 she hit it through the fairway and chipped in for birdie.
“Winning an AJGA event is such an awesome experience,” she said. It feels great to have a victory from such a prestigious tournament. I knew I needed a win under my belt and this tops off the fantastic summer I’ve been having.”
Tied for second place in the Girls Division are Courtney Ellenbogen of Blacksburg, Va., and Eunice Yim of La Canada, Calif., with 233 tournament totals.
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 U.S.A., a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became an 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, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information on the Nike Golf Junior at Louisville, contact AJGA headquarters at (770) 868-4200.