AJGA Thunderbird: Zhang fires 63, surges to victory
SCOTTSDALE, Az. — Andy Zhang of Reunion, Florida, won the 2014 Thunderbird International Junior with a dominating final round of 9- under- par 63 to finish at 17-under-par 199 for the tournament. Maddie Szeryk of Allen, Texas, took the Girls Division title after a two-hole playoff on The Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club, carding a 3-over-par 75 for a tournament-total 2-under-par 214.

After a string of five birdies and an eagle on the front nine, Zhang made the turn at 29, putting him at 15-under-par for the tournament. The 2013 Rolex Junior All-American added another eagle and birdie on Nos. 11 and 12 to stay bogey free through 13 holes and reach 10- under for the day. Zhang finished the tournament with a tap-in birdie on No. 18 to match a tournament record of 9-under-par 63 and capture his first career AJGA victory.

“It feels good,” Zhang said. “It’s something that I worked really hard for. To know that hard work pays off and to have this win means a lot to me. Going into today I asked my dad, mentor, and friends for advice. They helped me have a good mentality going into today which helped my putts fall. It makes me happy.”

Zachary Bauchou of Forest, Virginia, finished second at 5-under-par 67 for a tournament- total 13-under-par 203. Sam Burns of Shreveport, Louisiana, finished one shot behind Bauchou at 12-under-par 204 after a final of even-par 72. In fourth place, Cheng Jin of Singapore, carded a 5-under-par 67 for a three-day total of 9- under-par 207. Nathan Jeansonne of Keithville, Louisiana, and defending champion Jorge Garcia of Miami, Florida, tied for fifth place with a tournament-total 8-under-par 208.

Szeryk and Andrea Lee of Hermosa Beach, California both finished the tournament at 2- under-par 214, resulting in a playoff. They both parred the first playoff hole, No. 10. Szeryk’s approach shot on the second playoff hole reached the green to set up the winning birdie putt, marking her fourth career AJGA title and first Invitational win.

“It was nerve racking,” Szeryk said of the playoff with Lee. “I tripled 10 during the round but I ended up hitting a good shot off the tee and made par. I hit a really good wedge on 11 and made the four-footer. It was a nice feeling.”

Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, Bailey Tardy of Norcross, Georgia, and Cheyenne Knight of Aledo, Texas, each carded tournament totals of 1-under-par 215 to finish in a three-way tie for third place.


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 AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 6,000 members from all 50 states and more than 45 foreign countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.

Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner. AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Jordan Spieth, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Stacy Lewis, Vicky Hurst, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome and Morgan Pressel.

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