GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., used seven final-round birdies as fuel to climb up the leaderboard and win the FootJoy Invitational. By winning the tournament, Thomas claimed a sponsor's exemption to the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship. Thomas shot 3-under-par 67 for the day, giving him a tournament total of 8-under-par 272.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the FootJoy Invitational was a 72-hole stroke play event held at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. The 99-player field featured golfers from 25 states and 10 foreign countries. The field included 28 players who have already signed National Letters of Intent to play in college as well as 25 Rolex Junior All-Americans. Home of the PGA TOUR's Wyndham Championship, the par-70 course was played at 7,118 yards. Past champions of this event include Brian Harman, Daniel Woltman, Andrew Yun, Peter Uihlein and Cameron Peck.
Thomas started the day three strokes back of third-round co-leaders Jordan Spieth of Dallas, and Ian McConnell of Riverview, Fla., but he steadily gained strokes during a front nine that saw him uncork four birdies. By the turn, Thomas was just two strokes back of Richard Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., who was 9-under-par at that point.
For his part, Thomas felt like he was in the mix from the start of the day.
"It's a tough course, but if you hit fairways and you get it in the right spot on the greens, you can make a lot of birdies out here," Thomas said. "I felt the pins were going to be tougher, if I just do what I need to do, and make birdies and take advantage of my opportunities, then I knew I could have a chance."
After the leaders made their way to the back nine, the 16-year-old capitalized as Sedgefield's greens exacted a toll on the other players. When his birdie putt hit the bottom of the hole on No. 15, Thomas had pulled into a tie with Werenski for first.
It was on the 406-yard, par-4 17th where the final moves were made, as Thomas' approach put him in position to take the lead for good.
"I had trouble hitting the drive on that hole all week. I just wanted to get it up that left side because I knew the pin was on that front right," Thomas said. "I hit a good drive and I hit a good second shot. I was nervous, but I knew that putt was going in. Just a little right-to-left putt, and I'd been putting well all day, and I just fortunately made it."
That birdie and a Werenski bogey minutes later meant Thomas had a two-shot lead after teeing off at No. 18. Although he wound up bogeying the hole, no one was left to threaten his lead after 72 holes, and the FootJoy Invitational trophy was hoisted by the Kentucky native.
Tied for second below Thomas were Anthony Paolucci of Dallas, and Tom Lovelady of Birmingham, Ala., who both finished at 6-under-par 274 for the tournament. Spieth finished in fourth at 5-under-par 275 and Werenski came in fifth at 4-under-par 276.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.
The largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate andd professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 wins. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information about the FootJoy Invitational, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200, or visit ajga.org.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Final results from the FootJoy Invitational conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Sedgefield Country Club.
Justin Thomas, Goshen, Ky. 72-66-67-67—272
Anthony Paolucci, Dallas, Texas 68-69-68-69—274
Tom Lovelady, Birmingham, Ala. 67-69-69-69—274
Jordan Spieth, Dallas, Texas 66-66-70-73—275
Richard Werenski, South Hadley, Mass. 68-68-67-73—276
Phillip Choi, Orlando, Fla. 72-70-70-65—277
Andrew Yun, Chandler, Ariz. 69-70-68-70—277
Jim Liu, Smithtown, N.Y. 69-67-68-73—277
Logan Harrell, Huntersville, N.C. 71-69-69-69—278
Ian McConnell, Riverview, Fla. 66-69-67-76—278
Bobby Wyatt, Mobile, Ala. 70-72-65-72—279
Daniel Lee, Valencia, Calif. 74-68-70-68—280
Joey Garber, Petoskey, Mich. 72-66-74-69—281
Michael Hebert, Orlando, Fla. 71-71-72-68—282
Blake Biddle, St. Charles, Ill. 73-67-69-73—282
Johnathan Schnitzer, Houston, Texas 74-72-69-68—283
Zeyu He, Shen Zhen, China 67-75-70-71—283
Emiliano Grillo, Resistencia, Argentina 69-71-69-74—283
Andrew Presley, Fort Worth, Texas 72-66-75-71—284
Billy Kennerly, Alpharetta, Ga. 75-69-70-70—284
Rak Cho, Brea, Calif. 66-72-74-72—284
Curtis Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla. 70-72-70-72—284
Kramer Hickok, Plano, Texas 71-72-69-72—284
Mario Clemens, Beverly Hills, Calif. 66-76-68-74—284
Gavin Hall, Pittsford, N.Y. 73-71-73-68—285
James Back, Cerritos, Calif. 72-69-74-70—285
Tyler McCumber, Ponte Vedra, Fla. 74-69-70-72—285
Shawn Yim, Buford, Ga. 71-71-70-73—285
Crawford Reeves, Greenville, S.C. 74-70-73-69—286
Matthew Ceravolo, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. 72-68-75-71—286
Ben Itterman, Carlsbad, Calif. 72-70-71-73—286
Anton Arboleda, La Canada, Calif. 70-70-72-74—286
Austin Cook, Jonesboro, Ark. 73-71-74-69—287
M.J. Maguire, St.Petersburg, Fla. 65-74-75-73—287
Clark Palmer, Augusta, Ga. 72-69-71-75—287
Brian Langley, Blacksburg, Va. 68-74-69-76—287
Ernesto Marin, Miami, Fla. 68-71-71-77—287
Andrew Decker, Greenville, N.C. 70-74-74-70—288
Mike Genovese, Pensacola, Fla. 69-76-73-70—288
Kevin Phelan, St. Augustine, Fla. 71-70-76-71—288
John Young Kim, Los Alamitos, Calif. 73-76-67-72—288
Adam Carson, Bristol, United Kingdom 70-69-76-73—288
Jesse Droemer, Houston, Texas 69-69-76-74—288
Jay Vandeventer, Bristol, Tenn. 67-73-73-75—288
Santiago Gavino, San Luis Potosi, Mexico 69-72-77-71—289
Seth Reeves, Duluth, Ga. 72-73-73-71—289
Shane Lebow, Santa Barbara, Calif. 73-72-73-71—289
Will Pearson, Memphis, Tenn. 71-72-73-73—289
Stewart Hagestad, Newport Beach, Calif. 67-74-73-75—289
Colton Staggs, Tulsa, Okla. 71-69-73-76—289
Ramsey Sahyoun, Reseda, Calif. 72-69-77-72—290
Talor Gooch, Midwest City, Okla. 72-71-75-72—290
Marcel Puyat, Bradenton, Fla. 75-71-72-72—290
Bo Andrews, Raleigh, N.C. 72-74-72-72—290
Michael Kim, Del Mar, Calif. 70-72-75-73—290
Davis Lee, Hilton Head Island, S.C. 76-71-70-73—290
Michael Cromie, Cary, N.C. 76-67-68-79—290
Daniel Walker, Earlysville, Va. 70-72-72-77—291
Robert Galbreath Jr., Huntingdon Valley, Pa. 76-72-70-74—292
Robert Hoadley, Southern Pines, N.C. 71-70-77-75—293
Brenden Redfern, Austin, Texas 69-72-77-77—295
Curtis Reed, Castroville, Texas 71-74-73-78—296
David Persons, El Paso, Texas 68-74-73-83—298
MISSED THE CUT
Alberto Sanchez, Nogales, Ariz. 72-70-77--219
Robert Register, Burlington, N.C. 71-75-74--220
Joaquin Lolas , Lima, Peru 72-73-75--220
Franco Castro, Alpharetta, Ga. 73-72-75--220
Justin Clement, Lexington, N.C. 74-76-70--220
Michael Yiu, Laguna Hills, Calif. 72-73-75--220
Byeong-hun An, Bradenton, Fla. 74-71-76--221
Landon Lyons, Baton Rouge, La. 71-75-75--221
Michael Decker, Pebble Beach, Calif. 74-73-74--221
Blake Morris, Waterbury, Conn. 75-72-75--222
Nelson Hargrove, Haverford, Pa. 72-76-74--222
Zhong Yang Fu, Bradenton, Fla. 69-77-76--222
Kyle Kmiecik, Avon, Ohio 75-75-72--222
Smylie Kaufman, Birmingham, Ala. 73-76-74--223
Ryan Zech, Kearney, Mo. 79-72-72--223
Jacob Everts, Ooltewah, Tenn. 76-73-75--224
Cody Kent, Castle Rock, Colo. 74-76-74--224
Jack Walsh, Lawrenceville, Ga. 74-74-77--225
Jordan Shuey, Mechanicsburg, Pa. 78-74-74--226
Chris Worrell, Enid, Okla. 81-73-72--226
Tye Beall, El Paso, Texas 75-77-74--226
Trey Kaahanui, Tempe, Ariz. 68-83-78--229
Keith Mitchell, Chattanooga, Tenn. 76-77-76--229
Brent McKenzie, Cambridge, Ontario 78-73-78--229
Yao-Chun Yang, Troy, Mich. 74-76-79--229
Eli Juren, Austin, Texas 76-75-79--230
Zachary Balit, Bradenton, Fla. 80-77-73--230
Christian Hawley, Kernersville, N.C. 74-78-78--230
Lam Steven, Hong Kong, Hong Kong 71-81-79--231
Lucas Bjerregaard, Frederikshavn, Denmark 75-80-76--231
Brandon Rodgers, Knoxville, Tenn. 74-80-78--232
Patrick Grimes, Palo Alto, Calif. 79-77-80--236
Richard Dearinger, Chapel Hill, N.C. 81-77-79--237
Chase Marinell, Cape Coral, Fla. 75-82-80--237
Jay Burlison, Salinas, Calif. 80-82-78--240
Patrick Winther, Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. 82-76-83--241