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Château Élan Golf Club
Braselton, Ga. • May 23 - 25

Welch holds on to first-round lead to medal in Girls Division

BRASELTON, Ga. — Henry Mabbett of Griffin, Ga., fired a final-round 69 for a 1-under-par 141 total to erase a three-shot deficit and take medalist honors in the Boys Division at the Preseason Junior at Chateau Elan. Jessica Welch of Lavonia, Ga., was the medalist in the Girls Division after a 74 and a 3-over-par 145 total.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Preseason Junior at Chateau Elan was a 36-hole stroke play event held on the Chateau Elan's Chateau Course. The tournament field consisted of 72 boys and 23 girls, ages 12 to 18, from 14 states. The Boys Division played the par-71 layout at 6,662 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at 5,889 yards.

The Preseason Junior at Chateau Elan is one of eight events being held as part of the Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series. The Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series is a series designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet been accepted to or participated in an AJGA event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year.

Mabbett's 2-under-par round was highlighted by five birdies against three bogeys. He stood at 1-over-par through 13 holes before recording birdies at Nos. 14, 15 and 18 to card 33 on the back nine.

“I hit my irons really well,” Mabbett said. “I hit a lot of greens and kept the ball in play. After I bogeyed No. 10, it helped me focus more.”

First-round leader Grant Cagle of Gainesville, Ga., finished in second place after carding a 73 in his second round for an even-par 142 total. Noori Hyun of Centreville, Va., Austin Vick of Evans, Ga., and James Chapman of Gastonia, N.C., all finished with a 143 total in a tie for third place. Chapman's final-round 66 was the tournament's low round.

Welch's closing-round 74 left her two shots clear of the field giving her a two-round total of 3-over-par 145 en route to her first AJGA crown. The five-shot cushion she built in the first round held up despite a birdie-free round Monday.

“I was nervous coming in,” Welch said. “I had heard these were some of the best golfers in the nation. This shows me that I can run with them.”

Emily Wright of Mason, Ohio, finished in second with a 5-over-par 147 total after carding the low round in the Girls Division with a 71. Katie Rose Higgins of Charleston, S.C., rounded out the top 3 with a 148 total.

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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 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, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.

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 350 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.

Golf Academy of America, with campuses located in San Diego, Phoenix, Orlando and Myrtle Beach, is the oldest and largest two-year golf career college in the world. GAA's 16-month program balances classroom studies, practical experience and comprehensive understanding of the business of golf. For more information, call 800-342-7342 or visit http://www.golfacademy.edu.

For more information about the Preseason Junior at Chateau Elan, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200, or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.