ZALATORIS BLISTERS BALLANTYNE, COMES FROM BEHIND FOR ONE-STROKE VICTORY
Jackson takes Girls Division with wire-to-wire win
Charlotte, N.C. — William Zalatoris of Plano, Texas, carded a 7-under-par 65 to overcome a four-shot deficit and claim first-place honors at the Junior All-Star at Ballantyne. In the Girls Division, Janie Jackson of Huntsville, Ala., stayed steady, carding a even-par 72 to finish the tournament and claim victory at 3-under-par 213.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Ballanytyne featured 78 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-15, from 23 states, Canada and Mexico. The 54-hole stroke play event was played at the par-72 Ballantyne Country Club. The Boys Division played the course at 6,750 yards while the Girls Division competed at 5,922 yards.
Zalatoris started strong, carding a 2-under-par 34 on the front nine, before catching fire on the back nine. He recorded five birdies on the back side, en route to a 5-under-par 31 and an 8-under-par 208 tournament total. With eight birdies to only one bogey on the day, Zalatoris said he knew his round was something special when he stepped onto the final hole.
“When I stepped up to the No. 18 tee with a one-shot lead, my adrenaline got going and you just have to get that out,” Zalatoris said. “As soon as I hit my shot into the fairway, I knew I could win.”
One stroke behind Zalatoris in second place was second-round leader Michael Bernard of Huber Heights, Ohio at 7-under-par 209. Sawyer Shaw of West Palm Beach, Fla., carded a 5-under-par 67 on the day to claim third place with a 5-under-par 211. Tied for fourth place with tournament totals of 3-under-par 213 were Lucas Kim of Toronto, Canada, and Jack Maguire of St. Petersburg, Fla.
Coming off a course-record second round, Jackson kept up her steady play, carding even-par 36s on both the front and back nines. As Jackson’s first AJGA victory, the 15-year-old said it was steady play mixed with calm nerves that helped her through the final round.
“The first couple of holes I was kind of nervous,” Jackson said. “It’s so much harder to play knowing you are in the lead, but I managed to calm myself down after those first holes. I knew I was hitting it well, so I told myself I’d be fine.”
Sierra Sims of Austin, Texas, claimed second-place honors with a tournament total of 4-over-par 220, while Rinko Mitsunaga of Roswell, Ga., and Giovana Maymon of Huixquilucan, Mexico finished tied for third at 7-over-par 223.
This week’s tournament marks a first in AJGA history as both champions are involved in the Playing it Forward initiative that teaches charitable giving skills, equipping AJGA members with the tools necessary to coordinate a successful fundraising campaign. Zalatoris raises money for the Texas Legends Golf Tour while Jackson lends her support to the First Tee of Huntsville.
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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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 Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series is a collection of 11 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12–15 and presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into Open tournaments. Juniors are limited to a maximum combination of five AJGA Open and Junior All-Star Series events during a calendar year. The series concludes with the Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, a full-time junior golf training and development program, enters its first year as an Official Partner of the AJGA. The partnership features an endowment of an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which will provide juniors access to national competitive golf opportunities.
For more information on the Junior All-Star at Ballantyne contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-2542.