UIHLEIN BIRDIES FINAL TWO HOLES TO WIN AT MAGNOLIA GROVE
Park runs away with second consecutive Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior title
MOBILE, Ala. — After struggling during the middle portion of his final round Monday, Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., gathered himself and finished strong to capture a two-shot victory at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior. In the Girls Division, Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., continued her dominating play to win her second straight title by 11 shots.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior was played on the Falls and Crossings Courses at Magnolia Grove Golf Club. Eighty-four boys competed on the Falls Course, while the Crossings Course played host to 50 girls. Twenty-five states and two foreign countries were represented at the event. Originally scheduled for Sept. 2-5, the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior was postponed due to Hurricane Katrina.
After chipping in for birdies on Nos. 4 and 6, it appeared that Uihlein was set to run away with the tournament title. The Bradenton native held a five-shot lead at one point during Monday's final round, but that quickly dwindled away after a difficult stretch during the middle of the round. At one point, Uihlein bogeyed four out of six holes and fell back into a tie for the lead. However, the now four-time AJGA champion righted the ship and birdied his final two holes to finish at 3-under-par 213 and win by two shots.
“The back nine is so tough that you're always left with a long or middle iron into the green,” Uihlein said. “I just played solid and tried not to make any mistakes down the stretch.”
With the victory, the third-team Rolex Junior All-American hopes that the win will catapult him to the highest honor in junior golf.
“Hopefully, this will help me get a little closer to being (Rolex) Player of the Year,” Uihlein said.
Richard Lee of Chandler, Ariz., made a valiant effort to catch Uihlein, but his back nine that included four birdies wasn't quite enough to overtake the eventual champion. Lee finished at 1-under-par for the tournament.
Five players, including first-round leader Tadd Fujikawa of Honolulu, Hawaii, Ji Moon of Lake Mary, Fla., Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, Chesson Hadley of Raleigh, N.C., and Mike Stern of Miami, finished tied for third at even-par 216.
In the Girls Division, Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., didn't need a sudden-death playoff to claim the tournament title like she did in 2004. In 2005, she ran away with an 11-shot wire-to-wire victory. Park played a consistent final round, making one birdie and 17 pars en route to her third career AJGA title.
“It means a whole lot and gives me a lot of confidence,” Park said of the win. “To come out here and win by a lot shows people that I could really play well.”
Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., who has two AJGA titles to her credit in 2005, finished alone in second place at 5-over-par 221. Stacey Kim of Midland, Ga., finished third with an 8-over-par tournament total.
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 Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Junior, contact national headquarters at (770) 868-4200.