PHELAN CRUISES TO WIN AT MIZUNO JUNIOR AT INNISBROOK
Chen comes from five shots back to capture Girls Division title at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Kevin Phelan of St. Augustine, Fla., took home the Boys Division title at the Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club Sunday, carding a 1-under-par 70 for a 2-under-par 211 tournament total. In the Girls Division, Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., survived a wild finish to take the victory with a final-round 2-under-par 68 and a 212 tournament total.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 15th annual Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook featured 138 boys and 78 girls — ages 12-18 — from 27 states and five foreign countries. This was the largest tournament field in the history of the AJGA. Past champions of the event include current PGA and LPGA Tour players Charles Howell III, Ryuji Imada, Beth Bauer and Brittany Lincicome. The Boys Division played the par-71 Copperhead Course at 7,105 yards, while the Girls Division competed on the par-70 Highlands North Course, which played at 5,791 yards.
Phelan came into the final round with a four-stroke lead and never looked back, finishing five shots ahead of the field. The 17-year-old, playing in only his third AJGA event, came into the day determined to focus on his own game and not worry what his playing partners were doing.
“My mindset at every tournament this year has been to be fully committed on every shot I make,” Phelan said. “It worked really well today.”
Phelan credited strong iron play as the key to his victory. On No. 12, he hit a 6-iron to five feet of the hole. On the following hole, he hit a 5-iron to three feet. Phelan was able to convert both birdie putts. His ability to make the short putts — he never missed one outside of five feet — was another integral part of his low round.
“I feel really good about the way I played today and I'm happy I got the win,” Phelan said. “I'm looking forward to playing more events this spring.”
Cheng-Tsung Pan of Upland, Calif., took sole possession of second place with a final-round 1-under-par 70 and a 216 tournament total. Kyle Kopsick of Lake Bluff, Ill., took third with a 218 tournament total. Sebastian Szirmak of Toronto, Ontario, William Sjaichudin of Jakarta, Indonesia, and Byeong-hun An of Seoul, South Korea, tied for fourth place with matching 219 tournament totals.
In the Girls Division, Chen began the day five shots off the pace and teed off in the third-to-last girls group. From the beginning, she stated she felt less tired and more focused than she had all week.
“My head was much clearer today,” Chen said. “I felt I was swinging better and everything flowed.”
Chen proved her comfort on the course early, carding a 3-under-par 32 on the front nine with birdies on Nos. 4, 5 and 7. She followed with a 1-over-par 36 on the back nine, her only misstep of the round a bogey on the 18th hole. Chen knew she played well, but did not realize she won until the final group left the scoring tent.
“I'm still in shock, but it feels great to win,” Chen said.
Dottie Ardina, also of Bradenton, and Lindy Duncan of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., tied for second place with 213 tournament totals. Evan Jensen of Belleair, Fla., and Lindsey Solberg of Verona, Wis., shared fourth place after carding 214 tournament totals.
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 49 states and 30 foreign countries.
Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, track & field, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for North America. Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in Norcross, Ga.
Situated on 900 wooded acres of rolling hills and 70 acres of lakes on Florida's Gulf Coast near Tampa, Florida, Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club is located just 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport. Innisbrook features 72 holes of championship golf, 620 spacious guest suites and rooms, four restaurants and three bars, the Innisbrook Golf Institute, 11 tennis courts, fitness and racquetball center, six heated swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three conference halls with 65,000 square feet of meeting space. Innisbrook is owned and managed by Salamander Hospitality, a privately owned and operated company based in Middleburg, Va., just outside Washington, D.C. and built upon a uniquely entrepreneurial approach to the hospitality business. For additional information call (727) 942-2000 or visit www.innisbrookgolfresort.com.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information on the Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook, please call AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.