SCHNITZER MAKES FINAL-ROUND SURGE TO TAKE VICTORY AT SOUTHERN OAKS GOLF CLUB
Yang holds onto lead for second AJGA win of the year
FORT WORTH, Texas — Johnathan Schnitzer of Houston carded a tournament-total 2-under-par 214 to come from three-shots back and claim victory at the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic. Julie Yang of Phoenix posted a 2-over-par 218 to hold onto the lead and take the Girls Division title by three strokes.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic was a 54-hole stroke play event held at the Southern Oaks Golf Club. The 120-player field featured players from 16 states. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 7,145 yards while the Girls Division played at 6,115 yards.
Schnitzer sat in a three-way tie for ninth place after the second round. With several competitors circling the lead, Schnitzer had a strategy entering the final round.
“My dad and I decided before today it would take a 68 or 69 to win,” Schnitzer said. “I knew I would have to light it up on the back nine and I birdied Nos. 8 and 9.”
Firing a final-round 3-under-par 69, he carded four birdies on the day to pull ahead by one stroke and take the crown.
“All I have to say is finally,” Schnitzer said of his first AJGA victory. “I have finished top five about four or five times. I finally got the monkey off my back and got a win.”
Following close behind was second-round leader Ryan Dagerman of Dallas in second place at 1-under-par 215. Tied for third were Chase Anderson of San Antonio and Matthew Seligmann of Houston, each at even-par 216. Brad Mason of Dallas finished at 1-over-par 217 to round out the top five.
In the Girls Division, Yang, 12, sat atop the leaderboard throughout the tournament and carded a final-round 5-over-par 77 to take the title. In her second AJGA win of the month, Yang carried a four-stroke advantage into Thursday's final round and remained calm as other players made a final charge for the lead.
“I wasn't that nervous,” Yang, the second-team Rolex Junior All-American, said. “Surprisingly, I didn't think I would win. I guess I was lucky. I had a good first two rounds.”
Valentina Fontaine of Hilton Head Island, S.C., finished second at 5-over-par 221. Tied for third at 6-over-par 222 were Victoria Vela of Mansfield, Texas, and Kaira Martin of Paradise Valley, Ariz.
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 an annual junior membership — boys and girls ages 12-18 — of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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 AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 about the Elbit Systems of America Junior Golf Classic or any AJGA event, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.