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E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championships returns to Jones Creek

Posted: July 16, 2017 - 1:18am
Alex Shead of Appling returns this year to defend his E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship title at Jones Creek Golf Club. In 2016, Shead posted a 3-under-par 213 total for a two-shot victory.
Alex Shead of Appling returns this year to defend his E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship title at Jones Creek Golf Club. In 2016, Shead posted a 3-under-par 213 total for a two-shot victory.

There will be a first when the E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship returns begins Tuesday at Jones Creek Golf Club.

For the first time in tournament history, both defending champions are returning. Alex Shead of Appling and Elisa Yang of Norcross, Ga., are each looking for another American Junior Golf Association title. The 54-hole tournament runs through Thursday.

Yang, a Georgia signee, cruised to an 11-shot victory last year. Shead parred the last hole in 2016 for a 3-under-par 213 total and a two-shot victory.

Shead, an Augusta University signee, is the highest-ranked player in the boys field per the AJGA rankings at No. 92. The field features six players ranked inside the top 300 (including No. 99 Austin Coggin of Vestavia Hills, Ala.), 10 inside the top 500. In the girls field, six players are ranked inside the top 200, including Yang (No. 81) and Jennifer Jung (No. 98) of Orlando, Fla.

"We've got the toughest field we've ever had," tournament chairman Dan Troutman said. "That's exciting to us."

Players from 10 different countries are competing in the tournament. Also, there are several local competitors in the boys field in Andrew Chong (Grovetown), Alex Colligan (Evans), Montgomery Harrison (Evans) and Nathaniel Simkins (North Augusta).

About 100 boys and girls have signed up for today's tournament qualifier. An estimated seven boys will earn a spot through the qualifier, while two girls will make it into the field.

The E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship, which added two new major sponsors this year in Bass Pro Shops and Brighter Side Roofing, is in its seventh year at Jones Creek.

The junior tournament remains as popular as ever with the players as well as the volunteers (300 are expected to help with the event).

"I think the word is out that it's a unique experience for the players, from the private dining to the locker rooms, the whole nine yards," Troutman said. "We've got more exempt players in this year than we've ever had."

Taylor, a three-time PGA Tour champion, is expected to be on hand throughout the tournament. Last year, he held two clinics. Troutman said he expects Taylor to hold one or two clinics again this year.

 

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