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Flint Elks Lodge 222 Golf Club
Grand Blanc, Mich. • July 11 - 14

Sylvan outlasts the competition to earn title in playoff

GRAND BLANC, Mich. — Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc, Mich. and Katie Sylvan of San Diego, both saw their day end in victory on the second playoff hole at the Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek. Mack finished with a tournament total of 212 after a final round 1-under-par 71. In the Girls Division, Sylvan tallied a 219, tournament total after a final round even-par performance.

The Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek was a 54-hole tournament presented by the American Junior Golf Association at Flint Elks Lodge 222 in Grand Blanc, Mich. The 99-player field boasted 75 boys and 24 girls from 22 states and Canada.

Mack pumped his fist in triumph when the final putt fell on No. 18 at the Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek, thinking it just sealed the victory and redeemed his final round collapse from the year before. Little did Mack know, but Matthew Thompson of Battle Creek, Mich. was already in the clubhouse with a 4-under-par 212, tournament total, meaning there would be a sudden death playoff. As the rain began to fall and the playoff reached its second hole, Mack watched Thompson chip his third shot past the hole, leaving Mack a birdie putt for the win. As he watched that putt fall he again pumped his fist in triumph as he had redeemed last year's performance.

“Staying aggressive was the key for me today,” said Mack. “Last year I played too conservatively. The momentum really swung my way on the second playoff hole and I was able to take advantage.”

Finishing second with a tournament total of 212 was Thompson, while Brady Keegan of Eau Claire, Wis., and Kyle Peterman of Sherman, Ill., finished in a tie for third with tournament totals of 2-under-par 214. Tied for fifth place were Andrew Hopkins V of Maumelle, Ark., Maki Kobayashi of Newington, Conn., and Philip Snow of Northville, Mich. with tournament totals of 1-under-par 215.

Sylvan who held a 1-shot lead coming into the final round, gave up that lead with a bogey on No. 17 and found herself tied with Aimee Neff, who won last week at the Coca-Cola Junior Open at Boyne Highlands. After both made par on the first playoff hole, they advanced to the second hole where Sylvan poured in a ten-foot put for her first AJGA win.

“I wanted to take care of things one hole at a time today,” said Sylvan. “I wasn't trying to make birdie on the playoff hole, and my experience from other tournaments really helped.”

The Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek has a storied history of producing champions who have gone on to have successful professional careers. Past champions include such notables as Kelly Robbins (1986), Phil Mickelson (1987, 88), Joe Ogilvie (1992), Jenny Chuasiriporn (1994), Paula Creamer (2001, 02) and Morgan Pressel (2003).

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 USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.

AJGA alumni have risen to the top of 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.

For more information about the Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek, please call AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.