VOGEL EAGLES IN SUDDEN-DEATH PLAYOFF TO CARD HIS FIRST AJGA VICTORY AT THE ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Tanco earns record-breaking victory in Girls Division in Cape Girardeau
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — The conclusion of the Rolex Tournament of Champions was a nail-biting finish as fans anxiously watched Byeong-hun An, T.J. Vogel and Gavin Hall, who ended the final round at 6-under-par 282, battle in a playoff Saturday. In the end, T.J. Vogel of Cooper City, Fla., came up victorious after an eagle on the second playoff hole. Victoria Tanco of Bradenton, Fla., kept her momentum from the first three rounds to fire a record-low score in the Girls Division with a 13-under-par 275.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Tournament of Champions was a 72-hole stroke play event held at Dalhousie Golf Club. The 144-player field featured players from 30 states and six foreign countries. The Boys Division played the par-72 Dalhousie Golf Club at 7,282 yards, while the Girls Division played at 6,304 yards. This year marks the 32nd edition of the AJGA's flagship tournament. Past champions of this event include David Duval, Charles Howell III, Jamie Lovemark, Phil Mickelson, Leta Lindley, Grace Park, In-Bee Park and Morgan Pressel.
Vogel held the lead coming into the final round, but An and Hall were determined to put up a fight. The three participated in the first Rolex Tournament of Champions Boys Division playoff since 1998. Vogel, playing in his last AJGA event before he attends the University of Southern California in the fall, earned his first AJGA win.
Each player made birdie on their first playoff hole, sending them back to the 18th tee to try it again, as rain started to fall on the gallery amassed at the 18th green.
“On No. 18 (the second playoff hole), I was about 185 yards to the flag and got up there and knew this was my shot,” Vogel said.
Vogel's second shot landed three feet left of the green, and he was left with a delicate 18-foot attempt at eagle. With Hall and An staring down short birdie putts, Vogel needed to hole his chip to end the playoff. As Vogel struck the ball, the downslope of the green carried the ball at perfect speed all the way to the hole. The crowd roared with applause and the rains fell hard, as the playoff ended with not a moment to spare.
“This is one of the best tournaments of the year and to win my last AJGA event against the best means so much to me,” Vogel said. “You have to play solid four days in a row and I did that.”
Tied for second were An, also of Bradenton, and Hall of Pittsford, N.Y. Two strokes back and tied for fourth were Shun Yat Hak of Lake Mary, Fla., and Johnathan Schnitzer of Houston at 4-under-par 284.
Tanco, who led the Girls Division wire to wire, carded a 3-under-par 33 on the front nine to run away with the lead. A finishing total of 13-under-par 275 broke the girls' tournament record of 282; set by Christy Erb in 1987.
“I started my round really good and made my birdies early,” Tanco said. “I had a seven-stroke lead after the front nine and I was confident after that. It always feels great to win an invitational because they are the biggest events in the AJGA, but winning this feels unbelievable because all the players are so good.”
Karen Chung of Livingston, N.J., started the final round one stroke off the lead, but finished second at 4-under-par 284. Coming in one stroke behind Chung in third place was Ani Gulugian of Irvine, Calif., at 3-under-par 285.
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 50 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 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.
For more information about the Rolex Tournament of Champions, please contact National Headquarters at 770-848-4200.
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