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K12 Qualifier Series
Hilton Indian Lakes Resort - Blackhawk Trace
Bloomingdale, Ill. • June 7, 2009

Hooton earns spot in AJGA event at Hilton Indian Lakes Resort

BLOOMINGDALE, Ill.  — Ryan Simpson of Mechanicville, N.Y., and Courtney Hooton of Del Mar, Calif., each shot a 3-under-par 69 to earn medalist honors in the Midwest Junior Players Championship Sunday.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Midwest Junior Players Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Hilton Indian Lakes Resort — Blackhawk Trace. The tournament field consists of 106 Boys and 34 Girls, ages 12-18, from 21 states and two countries. The par-72 course is being played at 6,928 yards for the Boys Division and 6,085 yards for the Girls Division. K¹² Qualifiers give juniors an opportunity to "play their way in" to coinciding AJGA Open Tournaments or earn a Tournament Exemption or Performance Star for a future event. The K¹² Qualifier Series offers opportunities for AJGA juniors at approximately 50 AJGA Open Events.

Simpson, who decided to take a Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing in the tournament, played consistent throughout the day, medaling by one stroke.

“On the par-3 seventh hole it started to get windy, but I hit a 4-iron about eights inches in and that got me started,” Simpson said. “I hit a lot of fairways and greens and only made one bogey all day. I hit the ball really far, normally I drive it about 290 and today I was hitting 330.”

Playing in the Boys Division are Steve Skurla of Wheaton, Ill., at 70; Stephen Marbach of Naperville, Ill., Logan Stauffer of Danvers, Ill., at 74; Trevor Rosekrans of Haslett, Mich., at 75; Ross Bowen of Winnetka, Ill., Jeffrey Lee of Overland Park, Kan., Brendan Bargetzi of Highland, Ill., Sean Hickey of Farmington, Mich., Yinchi Liu of Bradenton, Fla., and Ryan Haxel of St. Louis., and Spencer Lane of St. Louis, and Tyler Hardison of Louisville, Ky., at 78.

Boys choosing to take an AJGA Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing in the event are RayVaun Christenson of Ozark, Mo., John Chaney of Shaker Hts., Ohio, Andrew Fogg of Greenwood, Ind., Chase Hahne of Ramsey, Minn., David Janney of Avon, Ind., Shawn Foley of Pewaukee, Wis., Steven Petchenik of Glenview, Ill., Ben-Marvin Egel of Kokomo, Ind., Jack Shoreman of Orangeville, Ontario, and Mitchell Homb of Dixon, Ill.

Hooton comes to the event after a strong fourth place finish at last week's John Deere Classic Junior Open in Long Grove, Iowa. She got a slow start on the day beginning on the back nine and only hitting two greens. Her chipping kept her alive and she made four birdies to card a 4-under-par 32 on the front nine.

“I had a rough start at first but recovered with a lot of birdies,” Hooton said. “Before the tournament I'm going to work a little on my drivers, but try to replicate what I did today. I want to keep up my chipping because it saved me on the back nine.”

Joining Hooton in the Girls Division are Chelsea Michalek of Glenview, Ill., at 82; Lauren Dawson of Flossmoor, Ill., at 83 and Lauren English of Bloomington, Ill., at 85.

Also qualifying but choosing to take an AJGA Tournament Exemption in lieu of playing are Jordan Lippetz of Bradenton, Fla., Deanna Song of Granger, Ind., and Lisbeth Brooks of Waunakee, Wis.

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.

K¹² Inc., a technology-based education company, is the nation's leading provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs to students in grades K-12. K¹² provides its curriculum and academic services to online schools, traditional classrooms, blended school programs, and directly to families. Over 55,000 students in 23 states and the District of Columbia are enrolled in online public schools that use the K¹² program. K¹² Inc. also operates the K¹² International Academy, an accredited, diploma-granting online private school serving students worldwide. The K¹² academic program is used by many young people pursuing careers in athletics, music, art, acting, and other professions that require a high degree of scheduling flexibility. More information can be found at www.k12.com.

First-round tee times for the Midwest Junior Players Championship will run from 7-8:39 a.m. (first wave) and Noon-1:39 p.m. (second wave) off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees Tuesday, June 9 at Hilton Indian Lakes Resort — Blackhawk Trace. For more information about the Midwest Junior Players Championship, please contact Tournament Director Andrew Parr at (630) 529-0200 ext. 6887 or visit ajga.org.