SANDLER, JACKSON CLAIM FIRST-TIME SRIXON QUALIFIER MEDALIST HONORS
Srixon Qualifier champions to play in Fidelity Investments Junior Classic
STOW, MASS. — Brian Sandler of West Simsbury, Conn., and Sara Jackson of Sound Beach, N.Y., claimed first-time medalist honors in their respective divisions Sunday at the Srixon Qualifier for the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic.
The Srixon Qualifier was a par 68, 17-hole stipulated round conducted by the American Junior Golf Association on the Stow Acres Country Club's South Course. The field included 97 players, including 81 boys and 16 girls, ages 12-18, from 17 states. The top 10 players from the Boys Division and the top three players from the Girls Division qualified to play in the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic July 24-27, 2006.
Sandler, 18, hit 16 greens in regulation in his 3-under-par-65 round.
“No. 16 was the only green I missed, but I got up and down and made a 10-foot putt to save par,” Sandler said, who played the entire round without carding a bogey. “My iron play and wedges were solid so every putt I had was within 20 feet.”
As for the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic, which is the second AJGA event Sandler has qualified into, he plans to keep a game plan similar to Sunday.
“I am going to hit a few balls on the range, but my plan is to just play conservative, make par, and take the birdies when they come,” Sandler said.
Other qualifiers in the Boys Division were Connor Alan-Lee of Solana Beach, Calif., Jake Katz of Williamsville, N.Y., Patrick Gocklin of Manchester, N.H., Peter Williamson of Hanover, N.H., Camrin James of Jackson, N.H., Will Almand of Cary, N.C., Jon Lussier of Barton, Vt., Jacob Wagner of Wilmette, Ill., and James Pleat of Nashua, N.H.
Dominic Bozzelli of Pittsford, N.Y., Brian Czarnecki of Greenwich, Conn., and James Smith of Middlebury, Conn., chose to take a tournament exemption in lieu of playing in this week's event.
In the Girls Division, Jackson also relied on her iron play to carry her to her first Srixon Qualifier victory.
“I was attacking the flagstick and hitting my shots to 10 feet, if not closer,” Jackson said, who recorded two birdies on the day.
“On No. 12, I hit a solid fading drive and then aimed a 7-iron directly over the flagstick,” Jackson said. “It put on the brakes and I sunk a 9-foot putt for birdie.”
Other qualifiers in the Girls Division included Katharine Gulemi of Fairfield, Conn., and Annemarie Kissane of Albany, N.Y.
Meghan Chapman of Seminole, Fla., chose to take a tournament exemption in lieu of playing in this week's event.
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.
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.
The first and second rounds of the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic will be July 25, 2006, at The International-Pines Course. The first round will be an 8 a.m. shotgun, while the second round will be a 1:30 p.m. shotgun. For more information about the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic please contact tournament headquarters at (978) 779-1339.