Cox and Choe Claim Titles at Rolex Tournament of Champions
Final Round Shortened Due to Incldement Weather
Hilton Head Island, S.C. Jordan Cox of Redwood City, Calif., carded a final-round 35 to survive a late-round Kyle Stanley rally, earning his first AJGA Invitational victory in the Boys Division at the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Esther Choe of Scottsdale, Ariz., used two birdies in her final three holes to come from behind for the one-shot victory in the Girls Division, also her first AJGA Invitational championship.
With inclement weather delaying tee times by three hours in the morning, the Tournament Committee shortened Saturday's final round to a nine-hole stipulated round. The Girls Division played the front nine, while the Boys Division completed the tournament on the back nine.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Tournament of Champions was a 72-hole stroke-play event with a cut in both divisions after two rounds. The 165-player field featured 67 Rolex Junior All-Americans and players from 28 states and six foreign countries. In the event's 28th year, The Rolex Tournament of Champions is one of 11 Majors on the AJGA schedule and is the longest running AJGA tournament.
The event is being held at the Long Cove Club, which has played host to two AJGA tournaments (the 1997 Rolex Tournament of Champions and the 1999 Canon Cup).
Cox entered the day tied with Stanley of Gig Harbor, Wash., at 6-under-par, and built a three-shot lead with three holes remaining. Facing the three-shot deficit, Stanley poured in birdies from eight and five feet on Nos. 16 and 17, respectively, cutting the lead to one shot with one hole to play.
Both players had opportunities to claim victory on the final hole, but when Stanley missed a short putt that would have forced a playoff, Cox's bogey clinched the tournament crown.
I expected him to two-putt, or even one-putt, Cox said of Stanley's three-putt on the final hole. With him, there's always a chance for him to make a 40-footer to win. I was trying to prepare for a playoff you don't expect to win like that.
Cox's four-day total of 6-under-par 68-69-70-35-242 finished one shot better than Stanley's 67-71-69-36-243 total. Rory Hie of Lakewood, Calif., finished in third at 247, while Juan Candela of Bogota, Colombia, and David Yujin Chung of Fayetteville, N.C., finished tied for fourth at 249.
In the Girls Division, Choe capitalized on four iron shots to within 12 feet, resulting in four birdies in the nine-hole round. The 2004 first team Rolex Junior All-American posted a tournament score of 74-68-73-32-247, including a women's competitive course record of 68 during the second round. Playing in the second-to-last group, Choe had to wait for the third-round leaders to complete the round before learning her tournament fate.
I had no idea what the scores were until the scoring tent, Choe said. I have a high ranking, but to finally win something is really good.
Though the top five in the Girls Division shot no worse than 2-under-par 34, Choe's final round of 4-under-par 32 was enough to propel her to the one-shot victory.
For more information on the Rolex Tournament of Champions, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.