KESTERSON RIDES WAVE OF MOMENTUM TO THREE-SHOT VICTORY AT STARS OF TEXAS JUNIOR PRESENTED BY PARTY CITY
Future Texas Longhorn Sepmoree ends AJGA career in style in Austin
AUSTIN, Texas — Tanner Kesterson of Plano, Texas, had one goal for the summer – win an AJGA event – and that is exactly what he did Thursday, winning the Stars of Texas Junior presented by Party City by three shots at 2-under-par 214 for the tournament. Katelyn Sepmoree of Tyler, Texas, who will play for the University of Texas in the fall, used the good vibes of playing in the city of her future college to win in the Girls Division by one shot with a tournament total of 12-over-par 228.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Stars of Texas Junior presented by Party City was a 54-hole stroke play event, with a 36-hole cut, held at The Hills Country Club – Flintrock Falls Course. The tournament field featured 105 boys and 36 girls, age 13-18, from 13 states and Mexico. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,960 yards, while the Girls Division played the Jack Nicklaus design at 6,008 yards.
Kesterson, who is ranked No. 90 in the Polo Golf Rankings, opened the day with a one-shot advantage, a lead which he would never relinquish, shooting two sides of 1-under-par 35 to coast to the three-shot victory. He has been on a tear in AJGA competition this summer with a third place finish last week at the Ping Phoenix Junior to go along with two prior AJGA top-10 finishes this summer, which he says propelled him to the three-shot victory on what he called a “really difficult” Flintrock Falls Course.
“I went in pretending that I was three shots down because a one-shot lead is not a lot. I just grinded and played solid all week,” Kesterson said. “My main goal for this summer was to win an AJGA event. It feels great winning a big one like this with all the cameras and everything because when this happens again, I will know I can do it because I’ve done it before.”
Enrique Livas of Monterrey, Mexico, tied for low round of the day, firing a 3-under-par 69 and took second in the Boys Division at 1-over-par 217 for the tournament. Curtis Donahoe of League City, Texas, Carl Jonson of Bainbridge Island, Wash., and Wesley McClain of Diboll, Texas, tied for third at 2-over-par 218 to round out the top five.
When Brittany Mai of Poway, Calif., chipped in for birdie on the 18th hole, Sepmoree believed she had lost by one shot, seeing flashbacks of the 2008 Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic where she lost by one. However, this time was her time, ending her AJGA career in grand fashion with a come from behind one-shot victory.
“I thought Brittany beat me with that birdie,” Sepmoree said. “It’s amazing to win in my last AJGA tournament, that’s all I can say. It feels so good. I knew I could do it, and I just played like I should.”
For Sepmoree, it was a victory that nearly didn’t happen, as she didn’t think she was going to be able to play but decided to try to qualify and won the K12 Qualifier before winning the tournament as well.
“I didn’t think I was going to be able to play,” she said. “Luckily, my scheduled opened up and the only way I could play was to qualify, so I did, and won the qualifier and the golf tournament.”
Mai and Sierra Sims of Austin, Texas, tied for second with three-day totals of 13-over-par 229, one off the pace of Sepmoree.
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 Stars of Texas Junior presented by Party City, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200 or visit the AJGA Web site, ajga.org.