SMALLWOOD, ZALATORIS TIE FOR FIRST AT BROOKHAVEN COUNTRY CLUB
Szeryk wins Girls Division at Preseason Junior at Brookhaven
DALLAS — Stuart Smallwood of Paris, Texas, and William Zalatoris of Plano, Texas, tied for medalist honors with a 3-over-par 147 total at the Preseason Junior at Brookhaven. Maddie Szeryk of Allen, Texas, was victorious in the Girls Division, carding a 13-over-par 157.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Preseason Junior at Brookhaven featured 78 boys and girls ages 12-18, from 12 states and Canada. The 36-hole stroke play event was staged at the par-72 Brookhaven Country Club - Championship Course. The Boys Division was played at 6,544 yards while the Girls Division played at 5,937 yards.
The Preseason Junior at Brookhaven was one of eight events being held as a part of the Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series. The Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series is a series designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet been accepted to or participated in an AJGA event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year.
Smallwood, 16, rose to the challenge today with the mindset of having fun and trusting his game. He sunk a six-foot putt for par on No. 10 and his five-iron approach shot set up a birdie on No. 11, giving him the confidence to finish his round strong. Trailing Zalatoris by one stroke on No. 18, Smallwood's tap-in par secured co-medalist honors.
“It's awesome to tie for first at my first AJGA event,” Smallwood said. “I have been working really hard and my game withstood the conditions out there on the course today.”
Sitting at the top of the leaderboard after the first round, Zalatoris played consistent, carding birdies on Nos. 5, 14 and 16. Heading into the last hole, Zalatoris, 12, led by one. He bogeyed No. 18, but was happy to share the No. 1 spot with his friend, Smallwood.
“Stepping up to the tee and playing with Stuart at my first AJGA event was the defining moment for me,” Zalatoris said. “This tournament was a great stepping stone and I am glad we both could share the top spot.”
Tanner Kesterson of Plano, Texas, and Dylan Shephard of Austin, Texas, tied for third. Kesterson shot 73-78 — 151 and Shephard carded a 71-80 — 151. Rounding out the top five was Brandon Kida of Layton, Utah, who carded 77-75 — 152.
In the Girls Division, Szeryk was challenged by the wind on her first few holes but was determined to not let it shake her. The back nine marked the turning point for Szeryk, when she fired a birdie on No. 13, sunk a putt for eagle on No. 14 and made a 20-foot putt for par on No. 16.
“I knew it wouldn't be a great day for everyone because of the wind,” Szeryk said. “I just had to keep fighting and not give up.”
Elena Warren of Austin, Texas, finished second at 79-81 — 160 and Brittany Smith of Petrolia, Texas, finished third at 83-79 — 162.
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 50 states and 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 250 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 Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series is a series designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet been accepted to or participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year. For those who are eligible, participation is limited to one Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series event per calendar year as long as they have not yet been accepted to or participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series event.
Golf Academy of America, with campuses located in San Diego, Phoenix, Orlando and Myrtle Beach, is the oldest and largest two-year golf career college in the world. GAA's 16-month program balances classroom studies, practical experience and comprehensive understanding of the business of golf. For more information, call 800-342-7342 or visit http://www.golfacademy.edu.
For more information on the Preseason Junior at Brookhaven, please contact Tournament Director Cover Heishman at (678) 617-2428 or visit the AJGA Web site, ajga.org.