MATHEWS CARDS EVEN-PAR 70 TO MEDAL IN COLUMBUS
Shimel leads Girls Division by six strokes to earn medalist honors
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ross Mathews of Markle, Ind., carded the only par round in the Boys Division Sunday to medal at the K12 Qualifier for the Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament. In the Girls Division, Alyssa Shimel of Perrysburg, Ohio, carded an even-par 71 en route to medalist honors in Columbus.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the K¹² Qualifier for the Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament was an 18-hole stroke play event held at Champions Golf Course. The qualifier field featured 80 boys and 20 girls, ages 13-18, from 12 states. The Boys Division played the course at par-70, 6,519 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at par-71, 5,924 yards.
K¹² Qualifiers give juniors an opportunity to "play their way in" to coinciding AJGA Open tournaments or earn a Tournament Exemption or Performance Star for a future event. The K¹² Qualifier Series offers opportunities for AJGA juniors at approximately 50 AJGA Open events.
Mathews, carding even-par 35 on both the front and the back nines, recorded three birdies to take the Boys Division by one stroke. Opting to take an AJGA Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing in this week's event, Mathews said an improvement in his chipping game coupled with a calm attitude helped him through his round.
“I tried to just keep it in the fairway, but if it happened to land outside the fairway I just took my lumps and moved on to the next hole,” Mathews said. “Today it was mostly about my short game, to just get it in the hole.”
Gaining entry into the Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament are John Weyenberg of Menasha, Wis., Preston French of Lexington, Ky., Colin Stelljes of Mason, Ohio, Charlie Phillips of Mount Vernon, Ohio, Dagan Abdon of Greenup, Ky., Akash Mirchandani of Prospect, Ky., Shawn Foley of Pewaukee, Wis., Andrew Fogg and Louis Gleixner, both of Greenwood, Ind., Nicholas Palladino of Highland Heights, Ohio, Dan Joseph of Jefferson Hills, Pa., Zach Yinger of Sidney, Ohio, and Tyler Keith of Marion, Ind. Also qualifying via sudden-death playoff were Ben-Marvin Egel of Kokomo, Ind., and Samuel Gallup of Rockford, Mich. Zachary Elkins of Dublin, Ohio, also qualified, but chose to take an AJGA Tournament Exemption.
Shimel stayed solid throughout her round, carding a pair of birdies and bogeys on the day, to lead her to a front and back nine score of 35-36. Opting to play in this week's event, Shimel credited her success to solid ball striking and an overall improvement in her game since her seventh-place finish at last week's Nemacolin Junior Classic.
“I played a lot better today than I have lately,” Shimel said. “The way I was hitting it today, I knew I gave myself pretty good chances at birdie, and at worst was walking away with par.”
Joining Shimel in this week's event are Kara Brinkmann of Liberty Township, Ohio, Jessica Zhang of Mason, Ohio, Jamie Caylor of Indianapolis, and Erin Michel of Mason, Ohio.
Qualifying but opting out of the tournament were Lindsey Murray of Tipp City, Ohio, and Tina Soyon Kwon of Tustin, Calif.
K¹² Inc., a technology-based education company, is the nation's leading provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs to students in grades K-12. K¹² provides its curriculum and academic services to online schools, traditional classrooms, blended school programs, and directly to families. Over 55,000 students in 23 states and the District of Columbia are enrolled in online public schools that use the K¹² program. K¹² Inc. also operates the K¹² International Academy, an accredited, diploma-granting online private school serving students worldwide. The K¹² academic program is used by many young people pursuing careers in athletics, music, art, acting, and other professions that require a high degree of scheduling flexibility. More information can be found at www.k12.com.
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 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.
First-round tee times for the Nationwide Insurance Junior presented by the Memorial Tournament will run Tuesday from 7 a.m. — 12:20 p.m. off the No.1 tee. For more information, please contact AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (770) 503-4303.