Home-Course Advantage Proves Big for Nolen at Stars of Texas Junior All-Star
Coleman caps off her summer with her first AJGA Championship at Grey Rock Golf Club
AUSTIN, Texas — A wire-to-wire victory at his home course was nothing short of expectations. Stratton Nolen of Austin, Texas, fired a 5-under-par 67 in the final round of the Stars of Texas Junior All-Star to finish the tournament at 10-under-par 206. Taylor Coleman of San Antonio shot a final round 4-over-par 76 to claim her first AJGA Championship, finishing with a tournament total of 15-over-par 231.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Stars of Texas Junior All-Star was a 54-hole stroke play event, held at Grey Rock Golf Club in Austin, Texas. The 77-player field featured 63 boys and 14 girls from 14 states, Mexico, Brazil, China, and Argentina. The boys played the course at 6,606 yards, and the girls played the course at 5,859 yards.
The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series is a collection of 10 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. The series concludes with the Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
After making a double-bogey and losing his two-stroke lead after the first hole, Nolen managed to reel off three straight birdies to increase his lead back to two strokes and never looked back. He had seven birdies on the day, thanks in large part to his putting.
“Today was my best putting day of the tournament,” Nolen said. “I made almost all my putts, if not all of them, inside of five feet. Knowing the grain of the grass out here helped my putting alot.”
Because he had been playing tournaments for most of the summer, Nolen was unable to play Grey Rock Golf Club as much as normal, but still proved to be an advantage throughout the three rounds.
“I feel like this being my home course really was not that much of an advantage,” Nolen said. “Being gone most of the summer playing in other tournaments, I haven't had a chance to play that much on the course. I guess, though, that it being my home course still provides somewhat of an advantage.”
Finishing seven strokes behind Nolen was Landon Hearnes of Mayflower, Ark., with a 3-under-par 213. In a tie for third place was William Martinez of Austin, Texas, and John Rafael of Corpus Christi, Texas, with an even-par 216. Colin Frizzell of Nacogdoches, Texas, finished at 1-over-par 217 for a fifth place finish.
After making a triple bogey on No. 11, Coleman stayed focused and finished strong to cap off her come-from-behind victory, her first AJGA Championship.
“I didn't get upset,” Coleman said. “I just kept playing my game and pretended like it never happened.”
After struggling for most of the summer, winning her first AJGA Championship was really special for her.
“It feels good to finally win and end the summer on a good note after not playing very well my past few events,” Coleman said. “It will give me a lot of confidence going into my next tournaments knowing that I can play well and win.
Brooke McDougald of The Woodlands, Texas, and Tianyi Wang of Beijing, China, finished four strokes behind Coleman with a tournament total 19-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 AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
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. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
For more information about the Stars of Texas Junior All-Star, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770)868-4200.