Asher Vargas goes wire-to-wire to win the AJGA Wyndham Invitational
Asher Vargas (AJGA Photo)
Asher Vargas (AJGA Photo)

Asher Vargas of Spring, Texas wins the 23rd edition of the Wyndham Invitational presented by Odyssey. Vargas went wire-to-wire to capture his first career AJGA Invitational victory.

The 72-player field showcases juniors from five different countries and 17 different U.S. states. This loaded field included 29 juniors committed to colleges, 43 players ranked inside the top-100 of Rolex AJGA Rankings, 17 Rolex Junior All-Americans and now 45 AJGA champions.

Vargas had a two-shot lead over University of Georgia commit, John Daniel Culbreth of Thomasville, Georgia going into the final round. Vargas started his round with a bogey on the first hole. Culbreth carded an eagle on No. 5 and the momentum started to turn.

The two traded bogies on the eighth hole and were neck-and-neck as they made the turn. Things stayed this way until Vargas made a birdie on hole No. 14 while Culbreth made a comfortable par. Vargas would lose a stroke on No. 16 as he was unable to get up and down. Culbreth made his par and they headed to No. 17 all knotted up.

Culbreth hit his tee shot right and ended up out of bounds to make a costly bogey as Vargas would get in with a par. He sealed the deal on No. 18 green with a 20-foot par putt and the win.

"When I saw these greens, I knew it was going to be tough," Vargas said. "I looked forward to playing this course and seeing how I stacked up against the pros. That took some pressure off; I was playing against them in a way."

Ronin Banerjee of Irvine, California played in the final pairing during Thursday's round. Banerjee had a relativity quiet front nine and was one-over-par at the turn. Just when he seemed to be out of the hunt for the title, he surged back with birdies on holes Nos. 15, 16 and 17.

After Culbreth's bogey on No. 17, he found himself tied for second and two shots back of the lead. He was unable to make his long birdie putt and ended the week tied for second.

Mason Howell of Thomasville, Georgia had one of the better final rounds of anyone in the field shooting 3-under-par, 67.

This secured him a second place finish. Howell started with a birdie on his first hole of the day. He would then bogey holes Nos. 6 and 10 but would not record another. Howell birdied four of his last eight to end his week strong.

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ABOUT THE AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield

72-hole invitational stroke play championship for boys aged 12-19. Cut after 54 holes. Almost 100 past participants have made the jump from playing the AJGA Invitational at Sedgefield to the PGA Tour. Past champions include 12-time PGA Tour winner Justin Thomas and 2-time winner Brian Harman.

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