PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Nov. 25, 2014) — First-round leaders Sam Horsfield of Davenport, Florida, and Robynn Ree of Redondo Beach, California, outlasted the competition from the world’s best junior golfers to medal in their respective divisions at the Polo Golf Junior Classic at PGA National Resort & Spa. Both players led their divisions by one stroke: Horsfield finished 3-under-par 140 while Ree posted a two-round total of 3-under-par 141.
The Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been conducted annually since 1978, marks the first tournament of the American Junior Golf Association's 2015 season. Former champions include Stewart Cink (1989), Trevor Immelman (1995), Tiger Woods (1991), Paula Creamer (2002), Grace Park (1994, 1996) and Morgan Pressel (2004).
Held on two courses, the Boys Division played the Champion Course (7,097 yards, par 71) Tuesday, while the Girls Division played the Fazio Course (6,310 yards, par 72). After 36 holes of stroke play, the 156-player invitation-only field was cut down to the top 32 players in each division, with their finishes determining seeding into match play.
With birdies on Nos. 6, 9 and 18, Horsfield secured the No. 1 seed in match play. The University of Florida signee was defeated by future teammate by Jorge Garcia of Miami, in the semifinals in 2013. He said his experience will help him prepare moving forward in the week.
“In match play, anything can happen,” said Horsfield, who is No. 3 in the Polo Golf Rankings. “I’ll be playing against a really great player no matter what. I’m going to have to play really well through the next three days to make it to the finals.”
With four birdies, including one on the par-3, 179-yard No. 15, Nathan Jeansonne of Keithville, Louisiana, finished second at 2-under-par 141. Austin Connelly of Irving, Texas, played a steady round with 15 pars and earned the No. 3 seed with a 1-under-par 142.
In a four-way tie for fourth, all at even-par 143, are defending champion Cameron Young of Scarborough, New York, 2013 Polo Golf Junior Classic runner-up Garcia, Matthew Wolff of Agoura Hills, California, and Won Jun Lee of Wesley Chapel, Florida.
Six players squared off for the final spot in the bracket. After three playoff holes, Jake DeZoort of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, advanced, defeating Andreas Halvorsen of St. Augustine, Florida, Trey Winstead of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Caleb Proveaux of Lexington, South Carolina, Riley Casey of Abilene, Texas, and Garrett Barber of West Palm Beach, Florida.
Playing in her sixth AJGA season and third Polo Golf Junior Classic, Ree had a back-and-forth round which ended with an even-par 72.
“My round today went pretty well,” the USC signee said. “It was very up-and-down towards the end. I was following my bogeys with birdies, so that helped to even things out. I started out really consistent with most of my shots.”
Defeated in the Round of 16 in both 2013 and 2012, the No. 10-ranked Ree said her goal was to play her best golf in each match.
“The person who plays the best golf wins, so that’s where my focus is heading into tomorrow,” Ree said.
In a tie for second was Javaree Boonchant of Bangkok, Thailand, and Lauren Stephenson of Lexington, South Carolina, both at 2-under-par 142. Boonchant is playing in her first AJGA event and Stephenson has advanced to match play each time she has played in the Polo Golf Junior Classic.
Eight players secured entry into match play after a nine-for-eight playoff. Annika Clark of Highlands, Texas, and Gina Kim of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, secured their spots in the bracket after making birdie on the first hole of the sudden-death playoff. Cheyenne Knight of Aledo, Texas, Binny Lee of Frisco, Texas, Alyaa Abdulghany of Newport Beach, California, Agathe Laisne of Paris, France, and Isabello Fierro of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico, advanced after the second hole. Kristen Gillman of Austin, Texas, fended off Paphangkorn Tavatanakit of Bangkok, Thailand, after the duo finished the fourth hole with par and bogey, respectively.
First-round matches will begin Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., while second-round matches will begin around noon. The Girls Division will play its first-round matches on the Fazio Course, while all other Girls and Boys Division matches will be held on the Champion Course
View results for AJGA Polo Junior Classic Golf Tournament