AVON, Ohio (June 26, 2008)--Kristina Wong of Bradenton, Fla., broke through to notch the first victory in her illustrious American Junior Golf Association career at the SAP Junior Open Thursday. Her three-day total of 4-under-par 212 was good enough to win the Girls Division by seven strokes in a field that included some of the best girls the nation has to offer.
In the Boys Division, Ethan Tracy of Hilliard, Ohio also took home his first AJGA victory with a wire-to-wire performance of even-par 216.
The SAP Junior Open was a 54-hole stroke play event held at Red Tail Golf Club. The 120-player field featured players aged 12-18 from 16 states and Canada. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,918 yards while the Girls Division played it at 6,106 yards.
Wong, 17, proved that she deserves to be mentioned among the best junior girls since her first tournament in 2004, however it took until her 31st AJGA event to finally be called a champion. Always steady and often spectacular throughout her week in Avon, Wong managed the golf course as if she had been playing it her whole life. She carded a 1-over-par 73 in the final round, however her five-stroke lead going into the day was good enough to hold off the stellar competition. Wong was paired with Tessa Teachman of Baton Rouge, La., and Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., all week and the three fed off each others' play. In the end, it was Wong who stayed most consistent throughout the three rounds, which is why she found herself alone atop the leaderboard after 54 holes of golf.
“It hasn't even sunk in yet, but it feels really good,” Wong said. “It was so much fun playing with [Teachman and Talley] all three rounds, and I definitely think it made us all even better.”
Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division behind Wong was Talley, 14, who had a tournament total of 5-over-par 219 and Teachman, 18, who carded a three-day total of 6-over-par 220.
While the Girls Division outcome was never in doubt on Thursday, the Boys Division came down to the final hole of the tournament. After two rain delays totaling 92 minutes, Tracy, 18, needed a par to clinch his first victory and was able to deliver on No. 18. The four leader boys were separated by a total of three strokes, providing a thrilling finish to the tournament which Tracy punctuated with a 3-foot putt.
“I was pretty nervous playing with the lead, and I didn't get off to a great start today,” Tracy said. “But I knew I was right there in the mix and I knew I had a chance, and in the end I was able to get the job done.”
Aaron Siekmann of Dublin, Ohio, finished in second place with a tournament-total 1-over-par 217. In third place was Richard Lamb of South Bend, Ind., carding a 2-over-par 218. Aidan Javed of Kingston, Ontario, took fourth with a three-day total of 3-over-par 219 and David Haley, Jr., of Hilliard, Ohio, finished in fifth place with a tournament-total 5-over-par 221.
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