Champs back for more

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The way Dru Love started his American Junior Golf Association career at the tour's Augusta-area stop last year, it's no wonder the 17-year-old is back to defend his title.

The Sea Island, Ga., native and son of PGA Tour star Davis Love III joins defending girls champion Taylor Ramsey in the field for the E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship, set to begin Tuesday at Jones Creek Golf Club.

The event formerly was called the Charles Howell III Junior Championship. It was played at Forest Hills Golf Club in 2008 then moved to West Lake Country Club the past two years before coming to Jones Creek this year.

"It's just a great area for the AJGA to visit," tournament director Chris White said of Augusta. "Obviously, Augusta is very historic and storied when it comes to golf.

"Once we were able to get an event here back in 2008, it was somewhere we intended to stay."

Last year, Love finished 5-under to top Greenbrier graduate Cody Shafer by three strokes.

The girls title came down to a duel between sisters and former Martinez residents Taylor and Ashlan Ramsey, who now live in Milledgeville, Ga.

Taylor shot 3-under to edge her younger sister by one. She returns this year, though her sister is not in the field.

Also playing will be Jessica Hoang, of North Augusta, who finished third last year; and Eunice Yi, of Evans, who has secured two wins on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour this summer.

The 54-hole event, preceded by today's practice round, concludes Thursday.

Nine boys and two girls made the field via Sunday's 18-hole qualifier, bringing the total to 72 boys and 24 girls.

Sixteen states and six countries are represented in the field.

Admission is free to the public. White noted the field is strong and that players enjoy visiting Augusta for the event.

"It's very enticing for kids in the Southeast and across the country to come to Augusta to see what the talent is all about outside of Masters Week," he said.

Reach Justin Williams at (706) 868-1222, ext. 116, or justin.williams@augustachronicle.com.

Local players

Boys

- Tyler Barker, Augusta

- Jack Gibbs, Evans

- Blake Hadden, Augusta

- Emmanuel Kountakis, Augusta

- Davis Parker, Augusta

- Russell Sabol, Martinez

- Kevin Steinmeyer, Evans

Girls

- Jessica Hoang, North Augusta

- Elizabeth Kim, Martinez

- Eunice Yi, Evans

Learn more

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