By Amanda Herrington (@AJGAAmanda), AJGA Communications
Spieth wins again
Former Rolex Junior Player of the Year Jordan Spieth set two tournament records at the Hero World Challenge, winning by 10 shots with a 26-under-par 262. Spieth broke the tournament record of 266 set by Tiger Woods in 2007 and Davis Love III in 2000, and surpassed Woods’ record largest winning margin of seven, by three strokes.
The win comes a week after Spieth captured the title at the Emirates Australian Open, where he used the same ball all 18 holes of his final-round 63. His superstition of never switching balls after a birdie has been a longtime tradition, even during his AJGA career.
The 2009 Rolex Junior Player of the Year collected five AJGA victories including wins at both the 2008 and 2010 PING Invitational. He closed his AJGA career with a win at the 2011 AJGA Boys Championship at Carlton Woods, the same year he won his second U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, having previously won in 2009. He became only the second player to earn two titles at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship behind three-time winner Tiger Woods.
The three-time Rolex Junior All-American received his first amateur exemption in 2010 for the HP Byron Nelson Classic making him the first player since 1995 to receive an amateur exemption into the event. Spieth finished his first PGA TOUR start in the top 20 at T16.
Spieth played his college career at the University of Texas where he helped the Longhorns win the 2012 NCAA Men’s Division I Golf National Championship, before turning professional in December 2012.
Back-to-back POYs at the top of LPGA Q-School
Taking the top spots on the LPGA Q-School leaderboard and solidifying their professional status were back-to-back Rolex Junior Players of the Year Alison Lee and Ariya Jutanugarn. Lee, the 2013 Rolex Junior Player of the Year posted rounds of 71-70-67-70-72 for a 10-under-par 350 to co-medal with Minjee Lee.
Jutanugarn, who was the 2011 and 2012 Rolex Junior Player of the Year, tied for third with rounds of 73-69-71-67-71 for a 351, one stroke behind Lee.
In her final junior golf season, Lee, won all three starts of 2013, competed for the victorious squads at the Wyndham Cup (West Team) and PING Junior Solheim Cup (United States), and earned the No. 1 spot in the Polo Golf Rankings. The six-time, first-team Rolex Junior All-American totaled nine career AJGA victories, four coming at Invitationals: 2013 Rolex Tournament of Champions, 2013 Rolex Girls Junior Championship, 2012 The PING Invitational and 2012 ANNIKA Invitational.
At UCLA, Lee set a single-season scoring record with a 71.0 stroke average and was a cumulative 22-under-par. She won three times (Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational, Stanford Intercollegiate and Pac-12 Championship), had nine top 10s, was a first-team All-American, Pac-12 Women’s Golfer of the Year and Freshman of the Year. She was also a member of the victorious 2014 United States Curtis Cup team.
Jutanugarn, earned the distinction of Rolex Junior Player of the Year in consecutive years after capturing four Invitational titles. She added her name to the record book after she defended her Rolex Girls Junior Championship title in 2012, winning by 12 shots and breaking the AJGA girls 72-hole scoring record with an 18-under-par performance (she broke the record she previously set in 2011 of 17-under-par). In addition to two Rolex Girls Junior Championship titles, Jutanugarn won the Thunderbird International Junior and Polo Golf Junior Classic, both in 2012.
Among the top 20 finishers to receive Category 12 membership alongside Lee and Jutanugarn were nine other AJGA alumnae: Maria Hernandez, Ryann O’Toole, Simin Feng, Nannette Hill, Kelly Shon, Cheyenne Woods, Perrine Delacour, SooBin Kim and Laetitia Beck.