Thompson and Vogel capture titles at 34th Junior PGA Championship

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MAINEVILLE, Ohio --- The state of Florida was well represented at the 34th Junior PGA Championship Friday as Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs won the girls' division title for the second time in three years, while T.J. Vogel of Cooper City earned his first boys' division title. Taking advantage of soft conditions after a Thursday afternoon rainstorm disrupted play, both Thompson and Vogel swept to victory. Thompson cruised to a 12-stroke triumph, one stroke off the all-time record, closing with a final-round 5-under-par 67 and 272 total. Thompson's rout trails only Debbie Hall, who posted a 13-stroke victory in 1977. "I never gave up and I didn't take anything for granted," said Thompson. "I just wanted to make more and more birdies." The 14-year-old Thompson, who is already competing in her fourth Junior PGA Championship, has finished in the top three in each of the last three Junior PGA Championships She battled 2006 U.S. Women's Amateur Champion Kimberly Kim of Pahoa, Hawaii, again in the final round this year, after an epic final-round back-nine battle at the 2007 Junior PGA Championship. "I knew Kim [Kimberly Kim] was going to make a run at me, and she started making a bunch of birdies on the front," said Thompson. "I am thankful I stuck with her on the front and I made a few more on the back to finish strong." Sarah Brown of Philipsburg, N.J., who played alongside Thompson in the final group, finished alone in second place for the second consecutive year. She carded a final-round 74. "I kind of leave with a bad taste in my mouth," said Brown, who is competing in her second Junior PGA Championship. "I wanted to salvage a second-place finish, and making that putt at No. 18, I did that." Kim, who came into the final round only four strokes back of Thompson, carded a final-round 76 to finish third. Thompson also earned a spot on the 2010 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team, which will be contested at the Gleneagles Hotel and Resort, Sept. 27-28, 2010, in Perthshire, Scotland. "I still want to play well in next year's Championship, but it is a big relief to already be on the team," said Thompson. "To be the first girl on the team for next year is pretty exciting." In the boys' division, Vogel, who finished in seventh place in 2008, fired a sparkling final-round 66 for a 272 total. He defeated reigning U.S. Junior Champion Jordan Spieth of Dallas, Texas, by two strokes. "I wanted to win my last tournament before going to college, and I accomplished that goal," said Vogel, who will be attending the University of Southern California in the fall. "I could not picture this any other way, leaving junior golf." Vogel, 18, finished only one stroke shy of the Championship record for lowest 72-hole score, held by PGA Tour player Pat Perez, who accomplished the feat in 1993. He battled close friend Spieth the entire round. "Jordan Spieth is such a good player, you can't give him anything," said Vogel, who played all four rounds with Spieth. "I was relaxed today but if you give him any space, he can stick you." Vogel took control of the Championship after recording four consecutive birdies on holes No. 8-11. "I played well today, I was really comfortable on the course," said Vogel. "I kept the ball in play, hit a lot of great iron shots and made putts when I needed to the entire week." Vogel finished his third round at 9:30 a.m. ET, due to rain earlier in the day Thursday and darkness suspending play at 8:14 p.m. His final round started at 11:00 a.m. Spieth also fired a final-round 66 to finish alone in second overall. "Both T.J. and I wanted to break away from the field," said Spieth. "I didn't lose the tournament, he just came in there and made more birdies and it was fun to watch." 2008 Junior PGA Champion Anthony Paolucci of Dallas, Texas, fired a solid final-round 70 to finish alone in third. The 16-year-old has already competed in four Junior PGA Championships. This year's field consisted of past winners of the Championship, PGA Section winners, many of Polo Golf and Golfweek's top-ranked players, and selected national junior tournament winners. Golf Channel will present a one-hour highlight program of the 2009 Junior PGA Championship, with the first airing on Sept. 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET. About the Junior PGA Championship Begun in 1976, the Junior PGA Championship has traditionally produced unforgettable golf performances and brings together the best junior golfers from around the country to compete for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy in the Boys' division and the Patty Berg Trophy in the Girls' division. The Championship has been a stepping stone for competitors to either collegiate or Tour professional careers. The list of past Champions includes some of the most prominent current Tour professionals: Billy Andrade (1981), Billy Mayfair (1982), 2001 PGA Champion David Toms (1984), Sean O'Hair (1998), Cristie Kerr (1995), 2008 Masters Champion Trevor Immelman (1996), Grace Park (1996), Aree Song (1999, 2000); 2008 U.S. Women's Open Champion In-Bee Park (2001, '02) and 2007 LPGA Rookie of the Year Angela Park (2004). Five members of the 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup Team -- Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk and Anthony Kim -- have competed in the Junior PGA Championship. About The PGA of America Since 1916, The PGA of America's mission has been twofold: to establish and elevate the standards of the profession and to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. By establishing and elevating the standards of the golf profession through world-class education, career services, marketing and research programs, the Association enables PGA Professionals to maximize their performance in their respective career paths and showcases them as experts in the game and in the multi-billion golf industry. By creating and delivering dramatic world-class championships and exciting and enjoyable golf promotions that are viewed as the best of their class in the golf industry, The PGA of America elevates the public's interest in the game, the desire to play more golf, and ensures accessibility to the game for everyone, everywhere. The PGA of America brand represents the very best in golf