News and Notes: Rolex Tournament of Champions

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Harper Gaston, Drew (20) volunteer

The Next Generation

Seven-year-old Drew of Nashville, Tenn., helped his grandfather, Harper Gaston, man the timing station on No. 14. The rising second grader's favorite part was eating M&Ms between calling in scores for groups on FJ Live Scoring. Drew is learning to play golf and said he was excited about his photo appearing on Twitter, even though he’s not yet allowed to have an account.

Leader boys standard bearer (4)

Starting lineup

Rolex Tournament of Champions honorary starter, Jerry Strebel, brings a wealth of experience into his volunteer position including several years working at AJGA events hosted by Richland Country Club. Besides his duties in the final round, Strebel also served as a timer on No. 14 and his wife, Trisha, helped during the event with FJ Live Scoring.

Strebel’s resume outside the AJGA includes working at two U.S. Women’s Opens and both included brushes with fame: he gave color commentary during an exhibition round with Michael Jordan, Meg Mallon and Julie Inkster, and after meeting President George H.W. Bush on the tee during a Pro-Am, was invited to join a party in the former Commander in Chief’s viewing area.

Luis Gagne record round (4)

Record breakers, makers

Just a little over a week ago on June 19, Luis Gagne of Orlando, Fla., broke the competitive course record (66) at Flossmoor Country Club. During the third round of the Rolex Tournament of Champions, the rising senior did it again with a 64, even wearing the same shirt both times.

During the third round, Gagne made seven birdies and an eagle on No. 13. The Orlando, Florida, native hit a 3-wood to 130 yards. The ball bounced two yards behind the flagstick and rolled in on the par 4.

The round put him into a tie for fifth with a three-day total of 10-under-par 206. Besides Gagne, Sean Crocker of (Zimbabwe) Westlake Village, California, and Patrick Martin of Birmingham, Alabama, also tied for the record in the third round.

During the final round, Adam Wood of Zionsville, Indiana, and Collin Morikawa of La Canada Flintridge, California, also matched the 8-under-par score of 64.


Krejsa behind-the-scenes

Rich Krejsa first worked with the AJGA in 2012 when his brother-in-law and longtime AJGA Senior Rules Official John Spiroplaus invited him to the AJGA Toyota Music City Junior at Richland Country Club. Krejsa inquired about volunteering and was on the schedule the next day.

He was so blown away by the thanks he got from juniors, parents and staff that he traveled to Huntsville, Alabama, and Memphis, Tennessee, to volunteer for other AJGA events that summer. In Memphis, Krejsa was invited to be the co-volunteer chairman with current chair Margo Hunter for the 2013 Bridgestone Golf / Brandt Snedeker Music City Junior presented by Toyota. He said yes and stayed on for the 2014 Rolex Tournament of Champions.

Krejsa ‘s favorite part about working with the AJGA is the passion the company has for not only contributing to the development of junior golf, but also the personal development of the juniors. Krejsa began planning for the Rolex Tournament of Champions in January and helped make the event a big success.

Goodbye junior golf, hello college golf!

The Rolex Tournament of Champions is often the final event for many accomplished junior golfers including Connor Smith of Birmingham, Alabama. He is one of 42 Class of 2014 juniors in the field, all but one of whom have committed to college and university golf teams.

Corey Shaun of Encinitas, California, said his favorite memory was his first event (Junior All-Star at Chateau Élan) in 2010.

“I didn’t think I was that good,” the now three-time AJGA champion said. “I ended up winning, so it was a pretty cool feeling.”

Smith said his favorite part of the AJGA experience was Invitational weeks, his favorite two being the FJ Invitational and 2013 Rolex Tournament of Champions.

Nicole Morales of South Salem, New York, also played in her last event and though she missed the cut, she served as an honorary starter and videographer on the No. 10 tee during the final round.

“It was nice because I got to see everyone one last time and I loved every minute of it,” the two-time Rolex Junior All-American said. “The AJGA has given me so much, not only in my golf game, but as a person. I couldn’t just sit at home and watch on FJ Live Scoring. The AJGA meant so much to me.”

Morales will compete for the University of Alabama in the fall.

Best of luck to all our college freshmen this fall!