WHITSETT LEADS AT 2-UNDER-PAR AT THE ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Johnson leads the Girls Division by two strokes at Victoria National Golf Club
NEWBURGH, Ind. — Cory Whitsett of Houston sits atop the Boys Division leaderboard at the Rolex Tournament of Champions after posting a 2-under-par 214 Thursday. In the Girls Division, Jennifer Johnson, of La Quinta, Calif., shot a 2-over-par 218 to maintain her lead entering the final round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a 72-hole stroke play event being held at Victoria National Golf Club. The 141-player field features players from 26 states and seven foreign countries. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 Victoria National Golf Club at 7,169 yards, while the Girls Division is playing it at 6,375 yards. This year marks the 31st edition of the AJGA's flagship tournament. Past champions of this event include Esther Choe, Philip Francis, Charles Howell III, Jamie Lovemark, Phil Mickelson, Grace Park and Morgan Pressel.
Whitsett shot a 2-under-par 70 for the third round Thursday which included three birdies, but he said his best hole may have been his only bogey on the day.
“I did hit a ball into the long stuff on No. 4,” said Whitsett, the top-ranked player in the field. “I took an unplayable, brought it back on the line and hit it up to the green for a bogey. It was probably my best hole and gave me momentum for the rest of the round.”
Whitsett added this is the hardest course he has played in a junior golf tournament but believes it is very fair and a great test of the field.
Beyong-hun An of Seoul, South Korea, and Troy Anderson of Paradise Valley, Ariz., sit tied in second at 2-over-par 218. In third is Jeffrey Kang of Fullerton, Calif., at 3-over-par 219. Tied in fifth at 5-over-par are Cameron Peck of Olympia, Wash., Michael Hebert of Orlando, Fla., and Cody Gribble of Dallas.
Johnson shot even-par to maintain her lead in the Girls Division. She also believes that this is one of the toughest courses she has ever played and recognizes the challenges each hole brings.
“I bogeyed No. 18 (her ninth hole), but it was still one of my best holes today,” Johnson said. “I went into the water but hit a good 5-iron shot to bogey the hole still. It set the tone for my back nine.”
Johnson said the key to tomorrow is concentrating on each shot and not thinking about the overall score.
In second is Lisa McCloskey of Montgomery, Texas, at 4-over-par 220. Alexis Thompson is in third at 6-over-par 222.
Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Tournament of Champions, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
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 49 states and 25 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989.
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.
The final round of the Rolex Tournament of Champions is Friday, July 4 with tee times running off Nos. 1 and 10 tee from 7:30 — 9:09 a.m. at Victoria National Golf Club and will be available in real-time through FootJoy Live Scoring. For more information about the Rolex Tournament of Champions, please contact Steve Ethun at 678-571-7994.