Thursday July 26, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Connor Smith of Birmingham, Ala., carded an even-par 72 on the final day to take the Boys Division win with a 8-under-par 208 tournament total at the E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf. August Kim of St. Augustine, Fla., carded a division-low 5-under-par 67 on the final round for a 4-over-par 220 and took the Girls Division win via a sudden-death playoff at Jones Creek Golf Club.
The E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf was a 54-hole championship conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Jones Creek Golf Club. The event featured 72 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 12 states and Mexico, Japan, Argentina and Taiwan. The Boys Division played the par-72 course at 6,774 yards, while the Girls Division played the course at 6,034 yards.
Smith, whose best finish at an AJGA tournament in his career was sixth at the 2011 Harvey Penick Junior All-Star, got off to a hot start carding three consecutive birdies to go 3-under-par for the day through No. 4. He credits his play to his loose demeanor on the course.
“I have been in a slump over the last three weeks and was really discouraged with my game,” said Smith. “I just realized that in order to get better I had to go out there and have fun and I was able to do that this week and get a tournament. It means so much to be able to have an AJGA win under my belt to prove to myself that I can compete at this level.”
David Hemann of Evans, Ga., carded a 4-under-par 68 on the final day to jump from 12th place to second with a 1-under-par 215 tournament total. Arjuna Anday of Murfreesboro, Tenn., came in third with an even-par 216 tournament total, while Buster Bruton of Dallas, Ga., was one shot back in fourth place at 1-over-par 217. Tied for fifth with totals of 2-over-par 218 were Jason Mendel of Norcross, Ga., Zachary Healy also of Norcross, Ga., and Carter Mobley of Waynesboro, Ga.
Kim, who was sixth after the second day, was able to card six birdies en route to a division-low score of 5-under-par 67. Kim managed to go 4-under-par over her last six holes to force the playoff.
“It means a lot to me to win because it shows that all of my grueling hours of practice have paid off,” said Kim. “I changed my swing about two months ago so it was a challenge to be able to maintain my swing despite all of the pressure.”
McKenzie Talbert of North Augusta, S.C., carded a 2-over-par 74 for a 4-over-par 220 tournament total for second place. Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division in just her second AJGA event was Carianne Wright of DeBary, Fla., who posted an 11-over-par 227 tournament total.