DUFFORD CLAIMS FIRST PLACE BY THREE STROKES
Weaver sits atop the leader board to earn her first AJGA victory
LAS CRUCES, N.M. What began as a cool, overcast morning turned into another scorching day in Las Cruces, N.M. Thursday. The final-round of the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces heated up along with the weather as Neil Dufford of Midland, Texas, posted a 71-68-71210 finish. In the Girls Division, 12-year-old Lindsey Weaver of Scottsdale, Ariz., held on to her second round lead to earn her first win with a 74-72-71217 tournament total.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces was played at the Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. Seventy-eight boys and girls, ages 12-15, competed on the par-72 layout. Twelve states, Canada and Mexico were represented in the tournament field.
Dufford hammered out three birdies and consistent drives to best the field by three strokes.
I was hitting the ball pretty solid, he said. I kept it under control for the most part and I feel that's what helped me get where I am.
The Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces is Dufford's second tournament with the AJGA. The 15-year-old said he planned to play in future AJGA events.
The way the tournaments are directed is top notch, he said.
In second place with a 213 tournament total was Nicholas Losole III of Scottsdale, Ariz. Edward Waller of Ponte Vedra Beach, Calif., and Darren Saqui of Cerritos, Calif., tied for third finishing at 214. Cody Kent of Castle Rock, Colo., took fifth place with a 72-68-75215 tournament total.
In the Girls Division, Weaver, a newcomer to the AJGA, carded a 1-under-par 71 for the day and went on to win her first tournament with the organization.
I thought it was a very nice tournament, she said. I really enjoyed the course and the whole AJGA staff. It was a lot of fun, especially because I won.
After birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 14, Weaver was in a comfortable position, and followed with a string of pars on the back-nine. She birdied on No. 18 to finish the tournament. However, Weaver said there was one point on the back-nine where she knew she would pull through to win.
It was No. 12, Weaver said. I saw the scoreboard and saw that I was still in the lead. I was worried about a few people (until then).
Second place for the Girls Division with a 220 finish went to Jessica Wallace of Langley, B.C., while third was claimed by Joy Trotter of Chino Hills, Calif., who carded a 225.
The Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces is part of the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series. The Series is a collection of 10 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 year old. The Series concludes with an invitation-only Nike Golf Junior Championship, Sept. 1-3, 2006.
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 counties.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in 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 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
For more information on the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.