MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- While 12-year-old Karen Chung finished strong on the back nine to win her first American Junior Golf Association event by four strokes, the boys champion, Michael Cromie, needed an extra hole of sudden death play-off to win the sixth annual Junior All-Star at Jacksonville.
The three-day, 54-stroke tournament, finished up June 21 at Paradise Point Golf Course's Gold Course at Camp Lejeune. The 82-player field consisted of youngsters between the ages of 12-15 from 20 states and Canada.
"They've all got great golf swings, said an appreciative Bruce Oliver, course superintendent. "It's pretty obvious the [AJGA] program is working."
Chung, a Livingston, N.J. resident, was playing in just her second AJGA event. She had to overcome an opening round 81 to lay claim to the trophy and credited her putting for the victory.
"The first day I didn't play so well and I thought I wasn't going to have a very good tournament," she said. "On the second day, I had the low round  and today I started off really well. I triple-bogeyed the 10th hole, but I was able to bounce back through the rest of the back nine."
Chung's strong late play in the final round allowed her to skip ahead of Shannon Pak of Kenner, La., who was the clubhouse leader after the first two days. Pak finished in second place with a 231, just one stroke ahead of Sarah Almond of Albemarle, N.C.
For Cromie, a resident of Cary, N.C., his final-round 69 was only good enough to land him in a tie with good friend John Varol of Weddington, N.C.
Varol played in the second-to-last group and shot a tournament-low 68 to make up his one-stroke deficit to Cromie and Quebec, Canada's Julien Goulet at the start of the final round. At the completion of the final 18 holes, Varol and Cromie were sent back to the 18th for the play-off.
Varol's second shot out of the fairway bunker fell way short of the green and Cromie took advantage with a solid approach. He two-putted for par and in doing so won his first AJGA event.
"He played great," said a gracious Varol of his friend." [Cromie] deserved to win. He's been working really hard - so have I, but it just wasn't my hole."
Cromie said his driver and irons made the victory at Paradise Point possible. "My long game took the nerves away today. It was steady all day," he said. "It's pretty cool. I'm extremely happy right now."
Tournament director and AJGA staffer Stephen Shapin credited the Paradise Point staff and volunteers for their hard work in making the 2007 Junior All-Star at Jacksonville a success. The crew overcame a 4-1/2 hour delay June 20 thanks to rain and severe storms that moved through Onslow County in the early afternoon. In spite of the weather, the entire field of junior golfers completed their rounds just before dark.
"This is one of the best events we have all year," said Shapin. "I really look forward to this event; it has a great feel - and a lot of support."
For more information on the AJGA, go to the Web site at www.ajga.org.