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Austin Country Club

Austin, Texas

July 5-8, 2004



Cavener picks up her first AJGA victory in her last event


AUSTIN, Texas – It took Lance Lopez of Missouri City, Texas, four extra holes, but he did what he needed to do to pick up the Boys Division title at the PING Harvey Penick Junior Thursday. In the Girls Division, Michaela Cavener of Tulsa, Okla., saved her best tournament for last as she captured her first American Junior Golf Association win in her last event before she begins college. Cavener took the tournament title with a three-day total of even-par 216.


 Conducted by the AJGA, the PING Harvey Penick Junior was held at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas. The 54-hole event features 120 players from 11 states and Mexico, including 100 from Texas.


Lopez, a Rolex Junior All-American, took a seven-stroke lead into the final round but struggled on the front nine, making the turn at 7-over-par for the day and two strokes behind Will Griffin of San Antonio.


“It was a hard day, starting on No. 2,” Lopez, who made a seven on the 314-yard par-4 hole. “I kept fighting and stayed in there and was not forcing anything. When I made the turn, I knew it was like match play. I thought it was just a battle with Will and me.”


Lopez and Griffin were neck-in-neck on the back nine. On No. 17, a 501-yard par 5, Lopez, who was four shots back, hit his second shot to within 40 feet of the hole and made a 20-foot birdie putt.


Griffin stood on the 18th tee with a two-shot lead. After taking a drop from an unplayable lie, Griffin hit his third shot into the water in front of the green and Lopez made par to finish the tournament at 218, one shot better than Griffin. Lopez was unaware that Jeff Gerlich of Austin, Texas, playing in the group ahead of him, posted a 1-under-par 71 to also sit at 218.


It took four holes to decide the champion after Gerlich and Lopez made par on the first three holes. On the fourth playoff hole, No. 17, Lopez made a birdie for the win.


“I just kept my focus and when I hit a bad shot, I followed it up with a good one to get my confidence back,” Lopez, 16, said. “It was all about confidence today.


“My confidence goes way up with this win. To just come out and play with these guys, who are all so good, helps build up my game.”


Gerlich, also a Rolex Junior All-American, took second place, while Griffin and Sumin Yu of Pasadena, Texas, tied for third at 219. Rounding out the top five at 221 were Austin Schauer of Spring, Texas, and Justin Mangubat of Bonita, Calif.


In the Girls Division, Cavener, a University of Tulsa signee, had a five-stroke lead going into Thursday and shot a 4-over-par 76 to take the tournament title. Her lone birdie came on No. 7 when she sunk a 15-foot putt.


“I did not hit the ball as well today and I did not give myself as many birdie opportunities,” Cavener, 18, said. “I only had one bad hole, No. 9, but other than that I played pretty average. I made a lot of five- to six-foot putts for par, which saved my score.


“To win this event feels awesome, especially because it’s my last one.”


Finishing five strokes back at 221 was Kimberly Meck of Austin, Texas. Rolex Junior All-American Lauren Espinosa of Hickory Creek, Texas, rounded out the top three at 225.


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 a junior 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 U.S.A., a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became an AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.


For more information on the PING Harvey Penick Junior, please contact National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200 or visit ajga.org.