Daniel, Thornberry win AJGA tourney

Daniel, Thornberry win AJGA tourney

June 8th, 2012 by David Uchiyama in Sportspreps

Tony Daniel drove past the Calhoun outlet shopping center.

Then he told his daughter that he'd take her shopping there on their way home to Newnan, Ga., if she won the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior All-Star tournament.

She did.

Jordan Daniel came from one shot behind through 52 holes to win her first American Junior Golf Association tournament title Thursday at WindStone Golf Club.

"I've been practicing for this tournament," said Daniel, who shot a 2-over-par 72 on Thursday. "I was nervous on the first tee and in the beginning, but I had to push that aside."

Payton Schanen of Kennesaw was the runner-up, three strokes behind Daniel.

Braden Thornberry of Olive Branch, Miss., won the boys' division with a 4-under 206, beating Issei Tanabe from California and Jalen Ledger from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., by three shots.

Thornberry had a comfortable lead coming down the stretch. Daniel had to come from behind.

She stood on the 17th tee one stroke behind Schanen. Daniel left the green with a one-stroke lead after she buried a 12-foot birdie putt and Schanen could not recover from pulling her tee shot into the woods, resulting in a bogey on the par-5 hole.

"Right after I made the putt I was shocked," Daniel said. "Things kind of changed. I was trying not to let it affect me."

Daniel socked her final drive of the tournament down the middle of the fairway after the two-shot flip. Schanen followed by hitting her tee shot on No. 18 out of bounds to the left.

"I felt bad for her," Daniel said. "We're friends. I didn't want that to happen to her."

Schanen and Daniel hugged after their round. At the same time, Thornberry began to pull away from his competitors. Third-round leader Ledger fell out of contention with a double bogey on No. 15, and Eric Bae of Cary, N.C., double-bogeyed No. 16.

With a birdie on the par-5 17th, Thornberry headed to the 18th tee with a three-shot lead.

"We were all at 3 under at the turn," Thornberry said. "But I didn't know what the group in front of me was doing. But I wasn't too worried. I was trying to play my own game."

His game was good enough to win.

Chattanooga's Scott Stevens shot the low round of the day with a 66. He finished eighth at 214. Ringgold's Ben Rebne placed 70th. Ooltewah's Oliver Simonsen suffered a disqualification penalty. Signal Mountain's Katherine Holmes tied for 17th in the girls' division.