Armstrong honored with sportsmanship award

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Ashley Armstrong of Flossmoor, Ill., earned the 2010 Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award and was presented the award Sunday night at the American Junior Golf Association’s Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet.

Since its founding in 1978, the AJGA recognizes juniors for their impressive feats on the course, in the classroom, as well as for exhibiting sportsmanlike behavior. The Jerry Cole Sportsmanship Award honors an individual who possesses qualities such as integrity and true-heartedness, and signifies the importance of living true to these virtues.

Armstrong received the honor for her volunteer work with the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois, the AJGA’s Leadership Links program, as well as her character on the golf course. Through her work with the Birdies for Charity portion of Leadership Links, Armstrong was able to raise $5,000 for the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois.

Not only does Armstrong work to raise funds for a worthy cause, she also volunteers her time supporting the Kids Golf Foundation. She spends time working with younger golfers, and offered her services as a standard bearer during the 2009 Solheim Cup.

“Having good sportsmanship is about more than if you win or lose,” Armstrong said. “It’s about character and integrity. It’s about how you act when no one is looking.”

A defining moment for Armstrong came when she realized she signed for a lower score following the final round at the 2009 AJGA Notre Dame Junior Open. Armstrong had accepted the champion’s trophy, but it wasn’t until the following morning that she realized her error. Without hesitation, she notified the tournament director and surrendered the title.

“Through that experience, I learned a lot about golf, but also about how making the right decision helps you in life,” Armstrong said. “I think that if I hadn’t disqualified myself, it would still be bothering me today.”

The Notre Dame commit not only excels in her community and on the golf course, but also in academics. She is a two-time HP Scholastic Junior All-American and is ranked fourth in her class of 707 students at Homewood-Flossmoor High School.

Armstrong was one of many junior golfers recognized Sunday night at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet held at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Others honored at the Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet include the Rolex Junior Players of the Year – Anthony Paolucci of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., and Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., – the 96 members of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams and the 24 members of the HP Scholastic Junior All-America Team.

The Rolex Junior All-America Awards Banquet precedes the Polo Golf Junior Classic, also taking place at PGA National Resort & Spa during Thanksgiving week. The event runs Monday through Friday and will feature the top players (78 boys and 78 girls) from the United States and around the world.