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Palmetto Hall Plantation – Robert Cupp Course
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
July 5-9, 2004

Wetzel edges Crawford in playoff for Girls Division championship

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Down one stroke heading into No. 18, Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor, Wash., and Kristin Wetzel of Middletown, N.Y., could only hope for something big to happen.  After a hazardous triple-bogey in the Boys Division and a grueling three-hole Girls Division playoff, both Stanley and Wetzel were crowned Hargray Junior Classic champions.  Stanley finished with a final-round 77 for a 71-72-77—220 and a two-stroke victory.  With a 73, the low final-round Girls Division score of the day, Wetzel came from behind to win in her first AJGA event.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Hargray Junior Classic featured 85 players, 63 boys and 22 girls, ages 12-18 from 17 states.  The 54-hole stroke play event was held at the Palmetto Hall Plantation’s Robert Cupp Course.

After leading for a majority of the tournament, Stanley’s advantage disappeared on the back-nine.  A bogey on No. 11 by Stanley opened the door for Cameron Knight of Dade City, Fla.  A birdie on No. 16 pushed Knight into the lead, and after both players made par on No. 17, Knight was in the driver’s seat with a one shot advantage heading into the final hole.

“We both had decent drives, and Cameron hit first from the fairway,” Stanley said.  “He went in the water, and that changed my strategy—I just went for the center of the green.”

“The wind switched directions on me, and it was a big wind too—it was at least a one-club wind, so I ended up short and in the water,” said Knight, who then tried to hit out of the hazard.  “I did it twice before in one tournament, and it came out hot both times before.  I didn’t think dropping 100 yards back was my best option.”

After failing to find reprieve from the water, Knight ended up taking relief anyway.  Stanley two-putted for par and the two-stroke victory.

“I had about 10 minutes to look over my putt, and I had a good read on it.  It all depended on the speed,” said the 16-year-old Stanley.  “It’s tough to be in the lead going into No. 18 without any experience.  No matter what would have happened, I give Cameron credit—he’s a great player.”

Knight finished tied for second place at 222 with Daniel Burns of Statesville, N.C.  Scott Barton of Dallas, Texas finished alone in third at 223.  Benjamin Kishigian of Warner Robbins, Ga., and North Carolina natives Christopher Evans of Greensboro and Josh Brock of Wilmington finished tied for fifth place, four shots back at 224. 

No. 18 was even more eventful in the Girls Division, as Laura Crawford of Lancaster, S.C., and Jacqui Concolino of Orlando, Fla., headed to the final hole at 5-over-par with a one-stroke advantage over Wetzel.  But Wetzel was the only one of the three to hit the green in regulation.

“I was happy that I put it in the middle of the green, but none of us had easy pars to make,” said the 16-year-old Wetzel.   “I did a lot of lining up to try and get the best read that I could.  I just wanted to have a reasonably short putt for par.”

Wetzel made her par for a final-round 73 and a 222 tournament total, but Crawford and Concolino found trouble around the green.  Concolino chipped on and three-putted for a triple-bogey seven.  She ended with a tournament total of 223—one shot behind Wetzel and Crawford, who made her two-putt for bogey to head to a playoff.  On the third playoff hole, the 169-yard par-3, Wetzel capitalized on another opportunity.

“After hitting it into the sand, Laura three-putted from 40-feet away for double-bogey,” said Wetzel.  “I knew all I had to do was two-putt from seven feet for the win.  It’s a great feeling, but no matter what would have happened, it was a great tournament.”

The Wake Forest signee Crawford finished second at 222, while Concolino finished third at 223.

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 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 Hargray Junior Classic or the AJGA, please call National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200 or visit ajga.org.