PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Nov. 26, 2013) — Derek Castillo of Yorba Linda, Calif., carded a 4-under-par 139 to claim medalist honors in stroke play at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and earn the No. 1 seed heading into match play. In the Girls Division, Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, earned medalist honors at PGA National Resort & Spa at 1-over-par 145.
The Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been conducted annually since 1978, marks the first tournament of the American Junior Golf Association's 2014 season. The 156-player invitation-only field is made up of 78 boys and 78 girls, ages 13-18, from 27 states and seven foreign countries. Former champions include Stewart Cink (1989), Trevor Immelman (1995), Tiger Woods (1991), Paula Creamer (2002), Grace Park (1994, 1996) and Morgan Pressel (2004).
During Tuesday's second round, the Boys Division played the Champion Course (7,092 yards, par 71), while the Girls Division played the Fazio Course (6,315 yards, par 72). The tournament field was cut to the low 32 players following Tuesday's round.
Castillo was four strokes off the pace to start the second round and moved up the leaderboard with five birdies through his first 10 holes, including consecutive birdies on Nos. 8 through 10. With a four-shot lead heading to No. 18, Castillo knew he had advanced to match play and pulled a 3-wood for his second shot on the 556-yard, par 5. From 260 yards, Castillo stuck his shot to a foot and tapped in for eagle to close the round at 3-under-par 68.
“I was driving the ball really well and I was staying patient out there because it was really windy,” Castillo said. ”It’s a real honor and it’s the first time I’ve played this tournament. I’m excited and ready for tomorrow.”
Scott Scheffler of Dallas (No. 2 seed) finished in second at 1-under-par 142 and Benjamin Griffin of Chapel Hill, N.C. (No. 3 seed) took third at even-par 143. In a three-way tie for fourth at 1-over-par 144 were: Dylan Meyer of Evansville, Ind. (No. 4 seed), Cameron Young of Scarborough, N.Y. (No. 5 seed) and Grant Hirschman of Collierville, Tenn. (No. 6 seed).
Six players survived a one-hole, sudden-death playoff to advance to match play: William Gordon of Davidson, N.C., Ryan Grider of Lewisville, Texas, Paul Elissalde of France, Jorge Garcia of Miami, Tony Gil of Vaughan, Ontario, and Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas.
After sitting at 4-over through the first three holes, Gillman recovered with an eagle on her sixth hole of the day, the 350-yard, par-4, No. 15 (she started on No. 10). The momentum returned when she holed out from 128 yards, using an 8-iron.
“I drove the ball and hit my iron shots really well today,” Gillman said. “This is my first time playing in Polo, but I’m always excited to play match play. This is a really fun event and it’s great to be playing against the best juniors.”
Michaela Owen of Suwanee, Ga., (No. 2 seed) finished one stroke back at 2-over-par 146, while Robynn Ree of Redondo Beach, Calif. (No. 5 seed), Sierra Brooks of Sorrento, Fla. (No. 3 seed) and Ruixin Liu of Orlando, Fla. (No. 4 seed) tied for third at 3-over-par 147.
Three girls advanced to match play after surviving a three-hole, sudden-death playoff: Cindy Ha of Demarest, N.J., Sabrina Long of Alpharetta, Ga., and Vanessa Ha of Allen, Texas.
View results for AJGA Polo Junior Classic Golf Tournament