WINTHER WINS THRILLER AT HP BOYS CHAMPIONSHIP AT CARLTON WOODS
Winther birdies second playoff hole for second Invitational crown
THE WOODLANDS, Texas — On the second playoff hole, all it took was a 9-iron from 142 yards to end it all. Patrick Winther of Rungsted Kyst, Denmark, sealed his second AJGA Invitational victory with a tap-in birdie, defeating Jordan Spieth of Dallas, at the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods Monday afternoon.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods was a 54-hole stroke play event played on the par-72, 7,358-yard Fazio Championship Course at The Club at Carlton Woods. The 78-player field featured 16 players from Texas and 23 Rolex Junior All-Americans. In all, 23 states and six foreign countries were represented.
The final round featured three leaders on the back nine, and with three holes remaining, five players were within a shot of the lead.
Winther trailed Bobby Wyatt of Mobile, Ala., by two heading to No. 10, and after bogeys at Nos. 13 and 14, his deficit ballooned to three shots with four holes to play. But birdies on Nos. 15 and 17 lifted him to the top of the leaderboard and into the playoff with Spieth.
“I was struggling a little bit with my putter on the front nine, but that's all that really made a difference,” said Winther, who is currently No. 5 in the Polo Golf Rankings. “On No. 17, I knew I had to make (the birdie putt) to tie, and going down No. 18 I was just in the zone at that point.”
Spieth also used a birdie on No. 17 to emerge from the pack. Playing in the group ahead of Winther, Spieth barely missed an eight-foot birdie bid on No. 18 and was the first to post a 5-under-par tournament total. Fifteen minutes later, Winther also had a chance to clinch the victory with a short birdie putt, but also missed.
The two exchanged up-and-down pars on the first playoff hole, which set up the dramatic finish in front of a gallery of nearly 200 people. Spieth's drive prevented him from reaching the green with his approach shot, which left the door open for Winther.
Winther had 142 yards to the pin after a perfect drive on the 445-yard closing hole. He played a high fade to 18 inches, which all but sealed his third career AJGA victory.
“Usually when I'm under pressure I do a little better,” Winther said. “I was pretty relieved when I saw it was about a foot and a half.”
Left with a 40-yard pitch across the green, Spieth played his third shot to less than three feet and saved par, but his efforts came up one shot short.
“I hit a bad tee shot that almost took me out of the hole,” said Spieth, who is No. 3 in the Polo Golf Rankings. “He could have just played safe, but for him to go and hit it that close, it's unbelievable. It's awesome to see him do that.”
Cheng Tsung Pan of Upland, Calif., had a birdie putt on No. 18 that would have made it a three-man playoff, but the 12-footer slid by the hole. Pan and Wyatt, who bogeyed the final hole to miss the playoff by a shot, finished tied for third at 4-under-par. Andrew Yun of Chandler, Ariz., and Emiliano Grillo of Resistencia, Argentina, finished tied for fifth at 2-under-par.
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 50 states and more than 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 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.
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For more information about the HP Boys Championship at Carlton Woods, please call AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.