Vaughn Taylor remembers the days when he was a junior golfer looking to make a name in the sport.
Now, for the third consecutive year, Taylor is supporting the AJGA tournament named after him. A two-time winner on the PGA Tour, Taylor spoke Thursday morning about the E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf at a news conference at Jones Creek Golf Club.
“Looking back through the years, I never imagined I’d have an AJGA event named after me,” Taylor said. “I couldn’t even get into some AJGA events. To have a tournament named after myself is a really cool feeling.”
The event will be played Tuesday-Thursday at Jones Creek. Currently, 54 boys and 19 girls are slated to play in the 54-hole event.
Former Lakeside High School golfer Emmanuel Kountakis, who won the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA championship in May, is one of the featured players in the boys division. Also, Connor Smith of Shoal Creek, Ala., is back to defend his title.
In the girls division, Sarah Harrison and Megan Sabol, each of Martinez, are the lone local contenders.
Jones Creek general manager Ray Mundy, who is also one of the course owners, said the 18-hole tract will play like a mini-U.S. Open, because of all the summer rain. He said the rough will be higher than normal, especially after the maintenance crew endured a nine-day period without mowing.
“When you get that far behind, it really takes a lot of time to get caught back up,” Mundy said. “The course is going to be in really good shape for the tournament.”
The E-Z-GO Vaughn Taylor Championship has been recognized twice by the AJGA in the past two years. In 2011, the event was named most improved tournament of the year. Last year, the event won the AJGA’s hospitality award.