PING JUNIOR AT THE WOODLANDS
The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center - Panther Trail Course
The Woodlands, Texas • April 13 - 16
VONGVANIJ CLINCHES TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP IN THREE-HOLE PLAYOFF
THE WOODLANDS, Texas - Arnond Vongvanij, of Bradenton, Fla., won his fourth American Junior Golf Association event at the PING Junior at The Woodlands on Sunday afternoon following a four-way-sudden-death playoff. In the Girls Division, Sydney Burlison of Salinas, Calif., shot 211 in the three-day tournament, with rounds of 69, 66 and 76, respectively, to win her second AJGA event.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Junior at The Woodlands was held at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center on the Panther Trail Course. The par-72 course was set up at 6,837 yards for the Boys Division and 6,001 for the Girls. The tournament field consisted of 90 boys and 45 girls from 19 states and Canada.
At the start of the final round, Vongvanij held a three-stroke lead, however, with four holes to play, his lead had shrunk to one. On No. 15, Vongvanij led the field at 10-under-par, followed by Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, at 9-under-par. A Jones birdie at No. 16 brought him to 5-under-par for the day and 10-under for the tournament to draw even with Vongvanij.
Back-to-back bogeys for Vongvanij on Nos. 17 and 18 and a double-bogey for Jones on 18 brought them into a tie with Paul Haley of Dallas and Patrick Reed, of Baton Rouge, La., at 8-under-par, which led to a four-way sudden-death playoff.
Both Haley and Reed bogeyed the first hole of the sudden-death playoff on No. 18, while Jones and Vongvanij each made par to go into the second hole.
They returned to the No. 18 tee where Vongvanij's drive came to rest on the left side of the fairway while Jones' landed in a fairway bunker on the right. Both boys were able to make fours on the hole, pushing the event into a third playoff hole.
Jones again hit the ball right, but the ball stopped just short of the bunker while Vongvanij's tee shot landed in the rough on the left. Jones' second shot found the water that surrounds the No. 18 island green while Vongvanij landed his second shot on the putting surface. After Jones' one-stroke water hazard penalty, Vongvanij two-putted to win the playoff and the tournament with a par.
“I was just trying to hang in there in the playoff,” said Vongvanij. “Unfortunately Josh (Jones) hit his in the water, then I just needed par to win.”
Vongvanij, a two-time Rolex Junior All-American, has now won three of his four AJGA titles through sudden-death playoffs.
“Today I was trying to make as many birdies as possible because I thought Arnond was going to shoot well,” said Jones. “And he did.”
Vongvanij had five birdies and six bogeys on Sunday while Jones had six birdies and no bogeys until his double-bogey on No. 18. Haley ended the tournament with a 71-68-70 — 208 and Reed at 71-67-70 — 208.
Cody Gribble of Dallas carded a 71-69-70 for a three-day total of 210 in the tournament to finish fifth.
In the Girls Division, Sydney Burlison won the tournament six strokes ahead of Katie Conway of Wading River, N.Y., and seven better than Glory Yang of Murrieta, Calif. Burlison led the tournament after every round, ending the three days with 12 birdies, five bogeys and one double-bogey. A two-time Rolex Junior All-American, Burlison placed third at this event last season.
“I was just hanging in there today,” said Burlison. “I was shaken by my double-bogey on the first hole and I never really got anything going after that. I probably could have played better, but the pins were tough today.”
Conway was in fourth place heading into Sunday's final round, and Yang was eighth after the first day, then moved into the sixth spot after day two. Conway had two birdies on the final day of the event and Yang carded birdies on her first two holes, then added two more on Nos. 8 and 11. Conway shot 71-74-72 — 217 and Yang shot 74-73-71 — 218.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(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 countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information, please call AJGA National Headquarters at (877) 373-2542.