PIPITONE COMES OUT ON TOP AFTER A BACK-NINE SHOOTOUT
Johnson goes wire-to-wire at The Dominion Country Club
SAN ANTONIO — Chance Pipitone of Houston and Geoff Howard of San Antonio knew that shooting 5-under-par during Thursday's final round would probably be enough to claim a victory at the Valero Texas Open Junior Shootout presented by Ingram Park Auto Center. However, Pipitone did one better, making birdie on six holes on the back nine at The Dominion Country Club to finish with a 6-under-par 65, enough to claim his first American Junior Golf Association victory by one shot over Howard.
In the Girls Division, Jennifer Johnson of Carlsbad, Calif., went into the day with a two-shot lead and finished with a six-shot victory, winning her second AJGA tournament in the past month after carding a 221 tournament total.
The Valero Texas Open Junior Shootout presented by Ingram Park Auto Center, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, was a 54-hole stroke play event held at The Dominion Country Club in San Antonio. One-hundred and nineteen junior golfers from eight states and Mexico, including 95 from Texas, competed in the tournament. Past champions of the event include Tiger Woods, as well as Brittany Lang and Morgan Pressel, both of whom recently tied for second at the U.S. Women's Open.
Pipitone's flood of birdies began on No. 9 and carried over to a back nine that he will not soon forget. The Houston native went on to make consecutive birdies on Nos. 10, 11 and 12 before cooling off slightly during the middle of his back nine.
“I didn't know what the scores were, but I just kept going,” Pipitone said. “When I got to 4-under-par, I thought I might have a chance. Geoff (Howard) and I thought it was match play from there on in.”
It turned out to be just that. Pipitone and Howard came into the 18th hole tied at 4-under-par for the tournament. Pipitone would knock his second shot on the green on the par-5 and two-putt for birdie for what turned out to be his third consecutive birdie to finish the round and his first AJGA victory.
“It's awesome because I've had a pretty tough summer so far,” Pipitone said. “Even if I didn't win, I just wanted to come out and play well.”
Howard came up just short with his effort, firing a 5-under-par 66 in the process. He finished alone in second place with a tournament total of 5-under-par 208.
Christopher Brown of Garland, Texas, finished in third place with a 1-under-par 211, four shots behind Pipitone. Four players tied for fourth place, including second-round leader Michael Lee of Corinth, Texas, Clark Mitzner of McKinney, Texas, Matthew Vela of San Antonio, and Freddie Janneck of Madison, Miss., with matching 1-over-par 213s.
In the Girls Division, Johnson continued her solid play and finished the final round with a 2-over-par 73. Champion of the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, Johnson went wire-to-wire and garnered a six-shot victory, finishing at 221 for the tournament.
“This win was really special because I had an under-par round,” said Johnson, who fired a 2-under-par 69 during the first round. “It's really cool to win this event with all the great players who have won it before.”
Daphne Vines of Austin, Texas, fired a 2-under-par 69 to finish in second place, six shots behind Johnson. Texas natives Lisa McCloskey of Montgomery and Lila Barton of Dallas tied for third place with matching 228s.
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, the largest Association of its kind, 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, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information on the Valero Texas Open Junior Shootout presented by Ingram Park Auto Center, call national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.