BROWN WINS BACK-TO-BACK CHAMPIONSHIPS AT NIKE GOLF JUNIOR AT TOFTREES
Ovenden beats competition and weather to win Boys Division
STATE COLLEGE, PA. -Sarah Brown of Stewartsville, N.J., claimed her second championship at the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees on Thursday, after shooting a final-round 74. Will Ovenden of Spartanburg, S.C., overcame not only tight competition but also pressing weather to win the Boys Division by just one stroke.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees was a 54-hole stroke play tournament that hosted a 98-player field. Mexico, Canada and 23 states were represented in the field of 75 boys and 23 girls, ages 12 — 15.
The Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series is a collection of 10 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12 — 15 years old. The competition provides an opportunity for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into open tournaments. The series concludes with an invitation-only Nike Golf Junior Championship, Sept. 1 — 3, 2006 in Aurora, Ore.
Brown made three birdies to win with a 5-shot lead, after carding a 219 tournament total. She said it is the best tournament-total score she has ever had. Brown, 14, took the lead after the first round and held it to the end.
“After the first and second rounds, I knew I had to play well to win,” Brown said.
She said this tournament will carry over into others.
“Getting a good tournament under my belt makes me feel more confident going into other tournaments.”
Second place in the Girls Division was Veronica Valerio of Temecula, Calif., who carded 77 for the final-round and a tournament total of 224. In third place was Jennifer Kirby of Paris, Ontario, at 226.
In the Boys Division, Ovenden, 15, carded a final-round 72 making his tournament total 220. Ovenden gained momentum finishing the front nine with three birdies in the last four holes.
Ovenden was tied going into the 18th hole with second round leader, Aidan Javed of Liberty Township, Ohio.
“It was tough,” Ovenden said. “We were head-to-head the whole way.”
Ovenden will turn 16 years old this year.
“This is my last year in Nike,” Ovenden said. “Winning was a good way to end.”
Javed took second place, carding a final-round 75 and a tournament total of 221.
In third place was Ryan Gay of Gardiner, Maine, with a tournament total of 222. Just behind Gay, in fourth place was Adam Saban of Lockport, Ill. at 224. In a tie for fifth place were Bradley Lucas of Worthington, Ohio, Parker Houston of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and Robert Register of Burlington, N.C., who carded tournament totals of 225.
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 an annual 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 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 Toftrees, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.