PING INDIANAPOLIS JUNIOR
The Bridgewater Club
June 7-10, 2004
PLAYOFFS DECIDE CHAMPIONS AT THE BRIDGEWATER CLUB
Vongvanij wins Boys Division, Blumenherst takes Girls Division
CARMEL, Ind. – Even falling rain couldn’t dampen the quality of play during the final round of the PING Indianapolis Junior. After carding tournament totals of 3-under-par 213, it took Arnond Vongvanij of Bradenton, Fla., and Chris Smith of Alpharetta, Ga., four sudden-death playoff holes before Vongvanij chipped in from 25 feet for birdie to take home the title. Amanda Blumenherst made a downward, left-to-right breaking 35-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Megan Grehan of Mamaroneck, N.Y. Both shot even-par-72 in the final round for tournament totals of 222.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Indianapolis Junior featured 100 players – ages 12-18 – from 22 states, Argentina and Canada. The par-72 Bridgewater Club was host to the 54-hole stroke play event.
Vongvanij set the course record during Wednesday’s second round, and took a two-stroke lead into the final day. After birdie putts on No. 1 and No. 2, Vongvanij had a 4-stroke lead.
“Just like yesterday, my short game saved me today,” said Vongvanij. “It was working all day long.”
Smith closed the gap and the two were tied at 3-under par with three holes to go. Smith, who resided in Carmel, Ind., from 1995 to 1997, had a birdie putt on No. 18 for the win, but couldn’t connect.
“I never thought I could shoot 67 on a course like this, let alone break 70,” said Smith. “Going into the playoff, I knew one of us would have to make birdie to win.”
Both players made par on the first three playoff holes. On the fourth playoff hole, Smith’s approach shot landed 15 feet from the flagstick, and Vongvanij’s approach fell just off the front of the green.
“I just wanted to chip it into a place that I could make par from,” said Vongvanij. “I hit it well and in line, and I was lucky that it happened to fall in.”
Smith hadn’t made bogey in 31 holes, but par wouldn’t be good enough this time. When his birdie putt stopped two inches short of the hole, Vongvanij had won. After shooting a final-round course-record 66, Alex Martin of Middletown, Ohio, finished third with a tournament total of 2-under-par 214. Robert Riesen of Pinehurst, N.C., and Chris Baker of Brownstown, Ind., rounded out the top-five with tournament totals of 219 and 220, respectively.
Blumenherst, 17, of Scottsdale, Ariz., took a 4-stroke lead heading into No. 17, but when Grehan birdied the final two holes to move two strokes back, Blumenherst couldn’t make bogey on No. 18 for the win.
“My best score on No. 18 during this tournament was a bogey,” said Blumenherst. “Luckily, I managed to make a breaking 5-foot putt for double bogey and go into a playoff.”
Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., Blumenherst made birdie on the first playoff hole for the victory in her native Hoosier-land.
“My goal was to put it close for a two-putt, but I put good speed on it and it went in” said Blumenherst.
Jennie Arseneault of Grinnell, Iowa, finished in third with a tournament total of 226.
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 has a membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
For more information on the PING Indianapolis Junior or the AJGA, please call National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.