UIHLEIN DOMINATES FIELD FOR FIRST WIN AT FIRST AMERICAN
Fourteen-year-old Shin wins first AJGA tournament by 5 shots
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — With a commanding 7-shot victory, Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., pulled away from the field and carded a 71-68-60—199 to give him his first win of the season. Michelle Shin of Cape Coral, Fla., eliminated the competition and four-way tie to win by five shots at 74-77-61—212.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the First American Title Junior Classic featured 84 players, 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18 from 15 states. The Westin Innisbrook Golf Resort — Copperhead Course, which is home to the PGA TOUR Chrysler Championship, hosted the 54-hole stroke play event for the first time.
Six inches of rain overnight and inclement weather delayed play for a half-hour and forced the Tournament Committee to play a 16-hole stipulated round with the par set at 63.
Uihlein, who finished third place at Thunderbird International Junior and tied for second at the PING Junior at Mirasol earlier this year, said the course conditions did not affect his game, as he carded six birdies and a string of pars.
“Most of my putts were within 10 feet and I just played smart,” said Uihlein, who will play in the Rolex Tournament of Champions in Hilton Head, S.C., next week. “I didn't have any strengths or weaknesses today. I just played solid, and it feels good to get a win.”
Nicholas Smith of Ocala, Fla., finished in second at 72-73-61—206. Three players tied for third to round out the top five in the Boys Division: Toby Ragland of Jacksonville, Fla., at 70-75-65—210, Mike Stern of Miami, at 72-69-69—210, and Andrew Brauer of Arlington, Texas, at 71-76-63—210.
In the Girls Division, fourteen-year-old Shin, who qualified for the tournament on Sunday, also recorded six birdies and attributes the win to her short game.
“My irons were going onto the green next to the pin, and I drained all my putts,” said Shin, who achieved her first AJGA victory. “I just wanted to make pars because usually when I try to make pars, birdies usually come.”
Srixon Qualifier medalist Andrea Messer of Belleair, Fla., came in second at 77-74-66—217, while the defending champion and two-time Rolex Junior All-American Dolores White of Lakeland, Fla., finished in third at 77-74-69—220. Courtney Figueroa of Naples, Fla., took fourth at 78-81-64—221. Completing the top five in the Girls Division, Whitney Wenglasz of Oldsmar, Fla., carded a tournament total of 73-78-72—223.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(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, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
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 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information on the First American Title Junior Classic, please contact the AJGA at (770) 868-4200.