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WESLEY BRYAN BREAKS THROUGH WITH WEB.COM WIN!

Wesley Bryan won the Chitimacha Louisiana Open on Sunday for his first Web.com Tour title, closing with a 3-under 68 for a one-stroke victory.

The 25-year-old former South Carolina player made a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 17th and closed with a par in cool, windy conditions at Le Triomphe. He finished at 14-under 270 and earned $99,000.

''On a day like today you have to stay super patient. You know it's going to gust and you have to be disciplined enough to back off.''

Bryan was making his third tour start after earning a card in December at Q-school.

''Coming into the season, I felt like I was really in good form,'' Bryan said. ''I felt like I was playing really well. I felt really good coming down here.''

The top 25 on the money list at the end of the regular season will earn PGA Tour cards.

''My wife and I have been praying for a win for a long time on any level and for the top 25 on the money list every night before we go to bed,'' Bryan said. ''This makes it a lot easier. The ultimate goal is the PGA Tour.''



ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL WEEKEND AT THE MBGA
 

Here at the Mike Bender Golf Academy we had quite a weekend with our junior golfers and their performances at different tournaments around Central Florida. Many congratulations are in order!!
 

First off, Congratulations to Kayla Li who won the IMG tournament at Rio Pinar in the 11-14 year old age group.


Next, Congratulations to Nick Bessire for his T-1st finish at the IMG tournament as well. He shot a 30 on the back nine of round one.


Next, Congratulations to Alyssa Mercado for her victory on the Hurricane Tour.


Furthermore, Congratulations to Eugene Hong for making Rolex Junior All-American First Team


and Finally, Congratulations to Abbey Carlson for making Rolex Junior All-American Honorable Mention.


CHELLA CHOI TAKES HOME HER FIRST WIN ON THE LPGA TOUR
 

The 24-year-old South Korean player broke through in her 157th start on the tour, beating compatriot Ha Na Jang with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.

“You know, first time win is hard,” Choi said. “I cannot believe it. Hopefully, this is a turning point for me. … It’s been a long time, seven years. So, I was really, really excited and happy.”

In the playoff on the par-5 18th, Choi chipped onto the green from 87 yards and two-putted from 25 yards for the par — holing a 1-footer for the victory. Jang bogeyed the hole after hitting approach long into high rough.

Choi closed with a 5-under 66 to match Jang at 14-under 270. Jang, the leader after each of the first three round, finished with a 68.

Jang didn’t speak to the media after the round.

Choi opened with a 73, then moved into contention with rounds of 66 and 65.

“I made just made one birdie on Thursday,” Choi said.

Her father was a police officer before joining her on the course.

“I work with my father eight years and somebody say like that’s why I don’t win, just for my caddie,” Choi said. “So I’m so exciting with my father.”

Choi earned $225,000. She will jump from 40th to 25th in the world ranking.

Second-ranked Lydia Ko, the winner last year, had a 67 to tie for second with Shanshan Feng at 13 under. Fend also shot 67.

 


ZACH JOHNSON WINS HIS 2ND MAJOR & IS NAMED CHAMPION GOLFER OF THE YEAR!

It was only fitting a playoff would bring to a close the 144th British Open at the Home of Golf.

Torrential rain closed the Old Course on Friday, gale-forced winds stopped play Saturday and amateurs ran amok of the yellow leaderboards during only the second Monday finish in the tournament’s history.

    Late on the fifth day of play, Zach Johnson, Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen took to the first hole for a four-hole playoff with the best aggregate score claiming the Claret Jug.

Forty-five minutes later Johnson joined Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo as the only players to win the Masters and a British Open on the Old Course.

Pretty good company for the man who says he’s just an ordinary guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

"I can’t. I’m at a loss for words," an emotional Johnson said in a TV interview moments after the playoff, with tears in his eyes.

"I’m grateful, I’m humbled, I’m thankful. I’m honored, this is the birthplace of the game, and that jug means so much in sports, specifically this tournament and golf. It hasn’t set in yet ... I felt great, I was patient, I had some scripture going in my head and I thank the Lord, I thank my friends, I thank my family. I’m just in awe right now."
 



OUR VERY OWN, CHERYL ANDERSON, IN VIRGINIA GOLFER MAGAZINE!





 



ABBEY CARLSON GOES TO V.U!
Abbey Carlson is one of the 100 juniors who have worked with Bender and is now receiving a college golf scholarship. The junior at Circle Christian School has verbally committed to play at Vanderbilt University beginning in the fall of 2016.

Like Chris DiMarco, Carlson moved to Florida at a young age. Unlike DiMarco, the reason was golf. Neither of her parents, Mark and Nancy, were avid golfers, but they sent her to a clinic at age 6. She fell in love with the game, attracted by its individual nature and challenges. In her first competitive tournament at age 7, Carlson shot 81 for nine holes but was never discouraged. “I kept playing more and more and kept getting better,” she says. “It gets fun and easier then.”

But the Carlson home was in the Chicago suburbs, where golf is a spring to autumn sport at best. So they decided to change that.

“My mom, my sister and I moved down here while my dad still worked up in Chicago so I could play golf year-round,” says Carlson. “My parents didn’t want to look back and say, ‘what if we had not done that.’ I was completely for it and loved the idea. It was really about not looking back and saying ‘what if.’”

With some knowledge of Central Florida and friends in the region, they decided this was the place to be. “There’s really nothing not to like about golf in this area,” says Carlson.  “We knew it’d be a good fit.”

Following a short time in the Lake Nona vicinity, the family eventually settled in Magnolia Plantation after Carlson began going to Bender’s academy. The academy’s director of instruction Cheryl Anderson is now her teacher. The most important thing Carlson says she’s learned is “how to practice and get the most out of it.” Greater control of her all flight, and thus more consistency, has also become a stronger part of her game.

Carlson’s most memorable golf moment came in the summer of 2013, when she shot a career-low 65 in the final round of an American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) event in Missouri. She’s won twice on the AJGA, including a tournament in early 2015 at Timacuan in Lake Mary. I runner-up finish in the 2013 Junior PGA Championship also helped put her on the national radar.
“My ultimate goal is to play on the LPGA Tour after college,” admits Carlson, whose favorite playor on tour is Stacy Lewis. Due to that, Carlson is working on improving her short game and trying to add some distance to her drives.

If Carlson was selling golf, her pitch would simply be: “You’ve got to go out there and try it. It is a tough game. If you get past the discouragement along the way and start to learn, it becomes a lot of fun thought. Just give it a chance.”
 



LEE JANZEN WINS AT ACE GROUP!
Lee Janzen had a good feeling about his 8-foot putt on the No. 18 hole.

Janzen made the putt, then topped Bart Bryant in a playoff to win the ACE Group Classic on Sunday at TwinEagles Golf Club.

"I was like I have to make birdie here to get in a playoff, or I make a par and I don't and I'll just go back to the drawing board and work harder on my putting because I had some putts I could have made that would have made a difference," Janzen said. "But there was a peace that to me it didn't matter whether I won or not."

Bryant fought his way back into contention when he shot a 10-under 62 Sunday, tying a course record while Janzen had a 5-under 67.

Both were 16 under in regulation play.

However, Bryant struggled in the playoff. After a short drive, he had 178 yards to go on the first playoff hole, No. 18. His second shot hit the railroad ties before bouncing back into the water.

"Well, honestly, where I messed up was my drive," he said. "I kind of hit just a terrible little fade out there, so I lost 20, 30 yards. So now I have a longer yardage and shooting more across the water.

"Actually, the second shot I felt like I hit pretty good, I just left it a couple yards right. I thought I had enough, I thought I took enough club that even if I pushed it, I was going to carry the water.

"I think the wind had changed just a little bit from the first time played it and was just enough. So I hit a bad drive, caught a little bit of a bad lie, hit it a little right and it all equals in the water."

Janzen, with 164 yards to go, put his approach shot on the green. He then two-putted for the victory.



ZACH JOHNSON MAKES DOUBLE EAGLE!
In the final round of the 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard, Zach Johnson's 207-yard approach finds the perfect line and rolls into the cup for a double eagle on the par-5 16th hole. Check out the video below to see exactly how it played out!

 

 
JONATHAN BYRD MAKES ACE!

In the second round of the 2015 Valspar Championship, Jonathan Byrd dials in a fabulous hole-in-one from 215 yards on the par-3 15th hole! Check out the video below for the footage of his excellent shot!

 

 

 


AUSTEN TRUSLOW WINS BYRON NELSON INTERNATIONAL JUNIOR GOLF AWARD

Longtime student of Mike Bender's, Austen Truslow, was one of five junior golfers to receive the Byron Nelson International Junior Golf Award.

Truslow is the No. 2 ranked player in the AJGA Polo rankings, having won the 2014 AJGA Puerto Rico Open, the 2013 AJGA Players Championship and the 2013 Golf Pride/David Leadbetter Junior Classic.

He has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Virginia.


JAMES GUNSALUS TIES FOR 2nd AT LOCAL USGA US OPEN QUALIFIER

James Gunsalus, a longtime student of Cheryl Anderson, Mike Bender Golf Academy Director of Instruction and Top 100 Teacher, made it through a local USGA US Open Qualifier finishing at T2 with 73 (+1). Next, he is going to be heading to the Vero Beach Qualifier at Indian River Club on May 12th, in hopes of getting the opportunity to play in the 114th US Open Championship conducted by the USGA. 


AUSTEN TRUSLOW FINISHES TOP 10

Austen Truslow finished in the top 10 at the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley. This is the most prestigious junior golf championship in the world—an invitation-only annual event for the top 54 players from around the globe, hosted by the renowned Sage Valley Golf Club. 

After only three years, the Junior Invitational is recognized around the globe as the pinnacle of junior golf events. The rigorous requirements for invitation insures the best and deepest field in all of Junior Golf. GolfWeek has named the Junior Invitational the number one event in junior golf for all three years of its existence, pointing to the strength of the field as a determining factor. 



JASON HAK GETS HIS 2014 PGA TOUR CANADA CARD
 
Jason Hak was awarded his 2014 PGA Tour Canada card after advancing through Q-School in Orlando, Florida the last week of April. 
 
The season will begin with the PC Financial Open, a new event May 26th to June 1st at Point Grey Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, British Columbia and conclude at the TOUR Championship of Canada presented by Freedom 55 Financial September 8th to 15th at Sunningdale Golf and Country Club in London, Ontario. 

ZACH JOHNSON RANKED #9 ON FEDEX CUP LIST FOR RECORD START TO SEASON
 
Zach Johnson has had a record start to the 2014 PGA Tour season. Starting with his win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and following that up with more than 4 top 10 finishes. Johnson has been playing some of his best golf yet. Because of his performance, he is currently ranked number 9 on the FedEx Cup points list, just behind Jordan Spieth.

LPGA TOUR PLAYER, CHELLA CHOI, STARTS SEASON OFF WITH THREE TOP 5 FINISHES
 
Longtime Mike Bender student, Chella Choi, has had a great start to the 2014 LPGA Tour season with three top 5 finishes in the past eight events. At the LPGA LOTTE Championship presented by J Golf, Chella shot a bogey free final round of 67 (-9) landing her in 5th place for the weeks event.