AJGA Preseason at Southland: Hageman wins by 1

FRANKFORT, Ill. (May 4, 2008)--Matt Hageman of Dixon, Ill., fired a final round of 6-under-par 66 to claim the top spot on the leaderboard at the Medicus Preseason Junior in the Chicago Southland Sunday. His tournament total of 4-under-par 140 was good for a one-shot margin over Josh Clay of Canton, Ohio.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Medicus Preseason Junior in the Chicago Southland was a 36-hole stroke play event held at Green Garden Country Club - Blue Course. The tournament field consisted of 78 boys, ages 12 to 18, from 20 states, Canada and Indonesia. The par-72 course played at 6,225 yards.

Beginning the day five shots behind the leader, Hageman recorded five birdies over his first seven holes to make the turn with the lead after opening with a5-under-par 31on the front side.

“Coming into the round, I knew I wasn't going to hand the tournament over,” Hageman said. “If I lost, I didn't want it to be easy for the other guys. I was actually a little ticked at myself after the front nine because I missed two birdies inside 12 feet, but I just kept pushing.”

Hageman's only bogey of the day came after a wayward drive on No. 14. He rebounded with a birdie on the par-5 15th to build a one-shot advantage coming down the stretch. After Clay's approach nearly found the cup from under a tree and rolled to less than a foot for birdie on No. 17, Hageman had to work to stay focused.

“The No. 1 rule is to always expect anything, but I didn't expect that,” Hageman said. “The nerves really kicked in and I had to back off a few times. But I was able to calm myself down and stuffed one right in there next to his.”

Carrying a one-shot lead into the final hole, Hageman made a crucial up-and-down for the first victory of his AJGA career. The weekend was both eventful and memorable for the 17-year-old.

“After the first round, I hopped in the car and we drove two hours home to make it to my prom,” Hageman said. “I was up at 4:30 in the morning to get back for today's round. But I had my first prom and now my first AJGA win. It could be the best weekend ever.”

Clay carded a final round of even-par 72 to finish second with a tournament total of 3-under-par 141. Tyler Klava of Pace, Fla., recorded a two-day total of 2-under-par 142 to finish third. Brett Patterson of McMinnville, Tenn., finished fourth at 1-over-par 145 and Brenten Blakeman of Burr Ridge, Ill., rounded out the top-five with a total of 3-over-par 147.

--Courtesy AJGA

ABOUT THE AJGA Preseason Junior in the Chicago Southland

36 hole stroke play event. Part of the AJGA's Preseason Junior Series, a series designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Junior All-Star Series event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year.

Fields are filled on a first-come, first-served basis after the tournament applications are released with 50% of the initial tournament field reserved for rising seniors.

For those who are eligible, participation is limited to one Preseason event per calendar year as long as they have not yet participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Junior All-Star Series event.

Those who are accepted into a Preseason Junior Series event and subsequently gain entry to an Open event through the Qualifier Series may play in the Open event and the Preseason Junior Series event since they were accepted to the Preseason Junior Series event before qualifying for the Open tournament.

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