Taking big swings
Alpharetta teen dominates at junior golf tournament

COVINGTON -Alpharetta's Kayla Jones came and conquered the competition as well as the golf course in the Atlanta Junior Golf Association tournament at the Oaks Course on Wednesday.

Jones, 13, had the lowest score from the other 120 participants shooting a 2-over par 73.

"I'm proud of myself, I did a good job. That's my personal best score," she said. "This is my first year with Atlanta Junior Golf, but I think I'll be playing a few this summer. I like this course. It's a challenge but it's not too hard."

However, this was not the first time she has played the Oaks under tournament conditions. In May, Jones shot a 78 and almost qualified for the U.S. Women's Public Links Championship.

"I think it was shorter this time. The last time I played it, it was a lot longer and I had trouble getting to the green," Jones said.

Jones won the 18-hole Club Girls 7-18 division followed by Dunwoody's Nikki Cline (82) and Wake Forest, N.C.'s Anna Padgett (83).

The other girls division, 9-hole Club 7-19, was won by Woodstock's Abigal Bolt (43) with Loganville's Alexis Taylor (45) coming in second and Cartersville's Sammi Harton (51) finishing third.

"We have different levels, like the club division, where it's not really competitive but it's competitive where we give the kids a chance to have fun. Then we have the open division where the kids shoot good scores and they're really looking to try to play golf later on in their life," said Blaise Wannemacher, USGA P.J. Boatwright Jr. Intern.

Winning the boys

The 9-hole Boys Club 13-over division winners were Atlanta's Martin Powell (43), Griffin's Tanner Burford (45) and Conyers' Austin Jewell (46).

The other 13-14 winners, 18-hole Club Boys, were Atlanta's Michael Hill (86), Atlanta's Griffin Ribes (87) and Kennesaw's Hunter Barnes (88).

There was a three-way tie in the 18-hole Open Boys 15-18 division with Atlanta's Khalil Anderson, Decatur's Ross Whatley and Acworth's Rex Ross posting a 74.

The 18-hole Open Boys 13-14 winners were Statham's Adam Kim (79), Griffin's Carson Willis (80) and Gainesville's Pep Brown (84).

The 18-hole Club Boys 15-18 was won by Winston's Tyler Couey (85) followed by Norcross' Chris Raasch (85) and Atlanta's Robert Kresser (86).

This is the 17th year the Oaks Course has sponsored an AJGA tournament.

"For some of the kids, this is their only access to the game of golf. And some of the kids are good players that are trying to gain scholarships to college. But they have access to other courses.

"In growing the game, from the standpoint of teaching all the principals whether it's the skill or the integrity, it teaches some of those basics. Every time we can get a young person playing and experiences the game, it ingrains those principals in the person," said Oaks Course Director of Golf Dick Schulz.

"Atlanta Junior Golf is recognized as one of the best golf organizations in the country, we're happy to be associated with them. We get thank you notes from the players. That's one thing that this group has done, they teach appreciation. We'll get 30-40 thank you notes in the mail the next two weeks. We enjoy doing it every year."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@