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Connellsville youth wins junior championship

| Thursday, July 1, 2004

Jordan Craig of Connellsville gave herself an early birthday present Wednesday by winning the Pennsylvania State Women's Golf Association's Girls' Junior Championship at Wildwood Golf Club in Allison Park.

Craig, who turns 18 today and plays out of Pleasant Valley Country Club, blew away the competition with a three-round score of 233 (79-78-76). Finishing second in the championship flight was Kaitlin Kearney, 17, of Glenmoore with a three-day total of 245 (80-88-77).

Craig said what set her apart from the rest of the field was her prior tournament experience.

"I won this tournament a few years ago and then was runner-up last year," the University of Texas recruit said. "Every tournament you play in, you gain experience for different situations, so you know what to expect. If you make mistakes, you know to just keep on going and not to let it bother you."

Craig said she also benifitted from her time spent as the captain of her high school's boys' golf team.

"It really gave me a lot of confidence playing from their tee level," she said. "I was right with them, so I had no advantage."

Despite her solid and consistent performance, Craig is still not totally satisfied with her game.

"I kind of came out today with the swing I woke up with, but it can always get better," she said. "My ball striking wasn't all that great either. I need to be going after more pins if I'm going to keep up with my level of competition."

Kearney, out of Whitford Country Club, was able to fight her way into second place yesterday after a disastrous Tuesday which dropped her from one stroke back to 11 back.

"I really honestly didn't think I was going to win, so I just wanted to throw a good score at it to redeem myself, which I needed to do," she said. "I also figured it is the beginning of summer and I have a lot more tournaments to do."

Ashley Young, 16, of Upper St. Clair took third place honors with a three-round total of 246 (83-80-83). Young, who plays out of The Golf Club at Hidden Valley, credited her caddy for helping her remain positive during the tournament.

"Without him today, I would have given up," she said.

All the players seemed to find some degree of difficulty with the course's greens, which were often large and sloped.

"They got a hold of everyone, I think," Young said.

On the first flight level, Catherine Elliott, 16, of King of Prussia finished first with a 267 total (86-91-90), while Margaret Pentrack, 14, of Pittsburgh took second with a 269 (89-92-88).

Sisters Laura and Courtney Fox of Plymouth Meeting took third and fourth respectively in the first flight. Laura Fox, 15, shot a three-day 269 (92-85-92), and Courtney Fox, 17, tallied a 270 (92-91-87).

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