By Laney Mullaney, AJGA Communications
It was March madness at the Valero Texas Open, where every player who finished in the top 10 was an AJGA alumnus.
Jimmy Walker became the first player to record two PGA TOUR victories this season, winning the Valero Texas Open by four strokes over fellow-Texas native Jordan Spieth. Walker took the lead after the second round, and held onto it throughout the tournament before marking his fifth victory in the past two seasons, a tour best, and moving to a career high of 10th in the World Golf Rankings.
The win keeps Walker in the No. 1 slot of the FedEx Cup standings, a spot he has maintained for 46 of the last 60 weeks. Walker has a history with the Valero Texas Open that dates back to his AJGA career, where he earned four top-15 finishes and a victory at the Genesis Shootout presented by the Valero Texas Open. Walker went on to have a successful career on the Baylor University golf team, where he led the team to numerous victories throughout his four years and was twice named to the All-Big 12 team.
Moving to fourth in the world rankings, University of Texas alumnus Spieth shot a tournament-total of 7-under-par 281 en route to a second-place finish. 2014’s FedEx Cup winner and University of Florida alumnus Billy Horschel finished in third, three strokes behind Spieth. Tied for fourth were 2013-14 PGA TOUR rookie of the year, Georgia Tech alumnus Chesson T. Hadley and Brigahm Young University alumnus Daniel Summerhays. One stroke behind tied for sixth were Coastal Carolina alumnus Dustin Johnson and Texas A & M alumnus Ryan Palmer. There was a three-way tie for eighth featuring two-time Rolex Junior All-American and University of Georgia alumnus Chris Kirk, Arizona State University alumnus Scott Pinckney, and University of California - Riverside alumnus Brendan Steele.
Cristie Kerr marked her first win since 2013 with her victory at the LPGA Kia Classic. This marks Kerr’s 17th LPGA victory and moves her to 10th in the Rolex Rankings. In 1995, Kerr racked up five AJGA victories and earned the honor of Rolex Junior Player of the Year. She was the No. 1 ranked junior and amateur in the nation at the same time, and won 23 of her last 25 events as an amateur/junior.
Alison Lee shot a 69-66-66-71 for a tournament total of 272 to earn a fourth-place finish. In her rookie year on the LPGA, this marks Lee’s highest professional finish. As an AJGA player, Lee was a six-time Rolex Junior All-American, three-time Wyndham Cup participant, the 2013 Rolex Junior Player of the Year, and she won the inaugural ANNIKA award in 2014 after her freshman season at UCLA.
Rounding out the top 10 were Rolex Junior All-Americans Inbee Park in fifth and Moriya Jutanugarn tied for eighth, along with three-time Wyndham Cup participant Paula Creamer, Arizona State University alumna Anna Nordqvist, and three-time Rolex Junior All-American Lexi Thompson tied for 10th.
Kelly Kraft turned in his first Web.com tour victory after winning the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by Nacher by one stroke. During his time in the AJGA, Kraft recorded two top-10 finishes, including one victory. Kraft went on to play golf at Southern Methodist University, and his amateur career included wins at the 2011 Trans-Mississippi Amateur and the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship, as well as an appearance on the 2011 Walker Cup team.
Two-time Rolex Junior All-American Cameron Wilson finished tied for fourth with Smylie Kaufman, Rick Cochran III and fellow Rolex Junior All-American Ryan Blaum. Rounding out the top 10 with a T9 finish was two-time All-American and Texas A&M alum Bronson Burgoon.
On the Symetra Tour, Sue Kim earned her second victory when she won the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, defeating fellow AJGA alumnae and sisters Brooke and Brittany Henderson by three strokes. This win moves Kim to the top spot on the tour’s money list. On the way to her win, Kim was the only player in the field who shot under-par all three rounds. Throughout her time in the AJGA, Kim earned two top-10 finishes before going on to play golf at the University of Denver.
The top three finishers were joined by seven other AJGA alumnae placing in the top 10, including Megan McChrystal and Brogan McKinnon tied for fifth, Cydney Clanton and Daniela Holmqvist tied for seventh and Dottie Ardina, Brianna Do and Rachel Rohanna tied for ninth.