LEONARD LEADS WIRE-TO-WIRE,
CAPTURES FLOSSMOOR TITLE FOR FIRST WIN
Theinthong survives three-hole playoff to claim victory in Girls Division
FLOSSMOOR, Ill. — Claiming victory in his first AJGA event, Brendan Leonard of Cambridge, Ontario, broke away from a three-way tie to take home the crown at the AJGA Flossmoor Junior Open after carding a tournament total of 2-over-par 218. In the Girls Division, Banchalee Theinthong of Bangkok emerged victorious from a three-hole playoff with Ashley Armstrong of Flossmoor, Ill., to claim her first AJGA victory with an 8-over-par 227 tournament total.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Flossmoor Junior Open was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Flossmoor Country Club. The tournament field featured 74 boys and 23 girls, ages 14-18, from 14 states, Canada, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico and Thailand. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,999 yards, while the Girls Division played the layout at par-73, 6,155 yards.
Leonard started the day strong, registering birdies on Nos. 1, 5, and 6 to finish the front at 1-under-par 35. However, after a two-hour rain delay forced players from the course, Leonard carded two bogeys in a three hole span before again finding his rhythm to finish the back at 2-over-par 38. He credited his one-stroke victory to a solid short game and strong focus.
“My swing was gone all tournament, and I was just grinding it out,” Leonard said. “It forced me to use my short game, which was definitely the strongest this week. I just stayed focused on every shot and it all came out okay.”
Finishing one stroke back of Leonard in second place was Jack Watson of Lincolnshire, Ill., with a three-day total of 3-over-par 219. JaMichael Jones of Chicago, and Ryan Tetrault of Orange, Calif., tied for fourth at 4-over-par 220, while Brett Tomfohrde of Hinsdale, Ill., and Jack Wilkes of Roanoke, Va., came in fifth at 5-over-par 221.
Theinthong's first AJGA victory came following a final round that included two birdies and nines of 38-37. It was a battle on the backside, however, the Bangkok native kept herself in position to claim the title. With Armstrong leading heading into No. 17, Theinthong registered an eagle to cut the lead to one, and a tap-in for par at the 18th sent the duo to a sudden-death playoff.
“I didn't want to think about leading this morning,” Theinthong said. “I just stayed focused and did my best; this is a really hard course. This is my first time winning in America, my hands are still shaking.”
Armstrong, carding the low round of the day with a 1-over-par 74, finished in second at 8-over-par 227. Alyssa Elliott of Madison, Wis., claimed third with a tournament total of 16-over-par 235.
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.
For more information on the AJGA Flossmoor Junior Open, please call AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.