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Grayhawk Golf Club - Raptor Course
Scottsdale, Ariz. • May 27 - 30

Pressel takes Girls Division on strength of final-round 70

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Bronson Burgoon of The Woodlands, Texas, pulled out a hard-fought victory at the Thunderbird International Junior by carding a final-round 4-under-par 68, bringing his tournament total to 206, and winning on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with second-round leader Jamie Lovemark of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. In the Girls Division, Morgan Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla., came back from one stroke down entering Monday's final round to win her third AJGA invitational in her last four tries.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the sixth annual Thunderbird International Junior was held on the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club. The tournament field was comprised of 84 boys and girls ages 12-18 from 16 states and 12 foreign countries.

The Thunderbird International Junior annually attracts the top junior golfers in the world with 50 Rolex Junior All-Americans present this year. Past champions of the event include Virada Nirapathpongporn, Ryan Moore, Casey Wittenberg, Brittany Lang and Rob Grube.

Monday's six-shot come-from-behind victory marked Burgoon's second of his AJGA career, with his first coming earlier in 2005 at the PING Junior at the Woodlands.

“I'm really lost for words,” Burgoon said. “I thought there was an outside chance I would be able to contend today, but I really didn't think I was actually going to win; especially with how well Jamie (Lovemark) was playing.”

Lovemark, 17, made birdie on the 54th hole to force the playoff by reaching the 521-yard, par-5 18th hole in two and holing out in two putts.

Burgoon, who will be attending Texas A & M in the fall, knew he had to do something special to come away with a victory. The Aggie-to-be did do something special by booming a 340-yard drive down the middle of the fairway on the par-5 18th.

“That was the biggest drive of my life,” Burgoon remarked. “I wanted to make birdie, but I'll obviously settle for par and the win.”

Lovemark's rounds of 66-66-74—206 earned him second place. He was followed in third by 2008-graduate Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla. Rounding out the top-five was Philip Francis of Scottsdale, Ariz., who placed fourth with a low-final round 67, bringing his tournament total to 8-under-par 208, and Erik Flores of Grass Valley, Calif., who carded a tournament total 210, good for fifth.

On the girls side, 17-year-old Morgan Pressel claimed the title at an AJGA Invitational for the third time in her career, bringing her career total to nine AJGA victories. Her previous invitational wins came at the 2004 Polo Golf Junior Classic and the 2004 Rolex Tournament of Champions.

“In my opinion, it's the best international tournament in the world with the strongest field. To come out on top after such a long week, it means a lot,” the Rolex Junior All-American said. “It's an AJGA major, it's a really prestigious event. Today, I played really well from tee to green.”

Pressel began the day one stroke back of eventual runner-up Azahara Munoz of San Pedro de Alcantara, Spain. But the 17-year-old from Boca Raton, Fla., quickly found herself four strokes back of Munoz after just four holes.

“It got away from me a bit, but I told myself to stay patient and it would come,” Pressel said. “I got a little momentum back with the three straight birdies but I followed that up by missing a two-footer.”

A stretch of three straight birdies by Pressel and a bogey by Munoz pulled the duo together at 8-under-par. Pressel played steady golf on the back nine to pull away from Munoz and seal the victory.

Trailing Munoz in third place was Mina Harigae of Monteray, Calif. There was a tie for fourth place between Amanda Blumenherst of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Juliana Murcia of Bogota, Columbia.

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.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.

For more information about the Thunderbird International Junior or the American Junior Golf Association, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.