Four-Way Tie in Boys Division Leaves Leaderboard Crowded at Aspen Golf Club
Wong leads Girls Division at Aspen Golf Classic presented by Jim McLean
ASPEN, Colo. — Parker Ashton of Santa Fe, N.M., Andrew Cornella of Colorado Springs, Colo., Conner Schrock of Mission Hills, Kan., and Cole Nygren of Niwot, Colo., are tied for the lead at even-par 71 after the first round of the Aspen Golf Classic presented by Jim McLean. Alexandra Wong of San Francisco recorded a 1-over-par 72 to lead the Girls Division.
The Aspen Golf Classic presented by Jim McLean is a 54-hole stroke play tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Aspen Golf Club in Aspen, Colo. The tournament field consists of 99 girls and boys ages, 12-18, from 19 states, Canada and Mexico. The Boys Division is playing the par-71 course at 7,086 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 6,100 yards.
Ashton struggled on the front nine, carding bogies on Nos. 4, 5 and 6, but made a comeback on the back nine shooting 1-under-par 35. Realizing other players would make bogies throughout the round, Ashton said he pushed himself to finish strong.
“The front nine here is brutal,” Ashton said. “I told myself to be patient and then I made three birdies on the back.”
Cornella maintained a similar mentality throughout the round. After quadrupling No. 2, he came back scoring five birdies.
“After going [out of bounds] and in a hazard after only two holes, I knew I needed to stay calm, cool and collected,” Cornella said. “It's a different playing field out here, you have to come prepared.”
Schrock also fought with the front nine, making consecutive bogies on Nos. 1, 2 and 3. Once he relaxed and settled into his game, Schrock carded three birdies without any more bogies.
“I knew I had a lot of holes left,” Schrock said. “There were still birdies to be made out there,”
Nygren was pleasantly surprised by his finish in the first round. He said trusting his stroke was key to the round, despite trouble on No. 10.
“I pulled it close to the trees, punched it into a bunker and made a bogey,” Nygren said. “I stayed calm and lucked out and I'm excited for the rest of the tournament.”
Rounding out the top five for the Boys Division are Tyler Engel of Castle Rock, Colo., and Vincent Martino of Southlake, Texas, tied for fifth at 1-over-par 72.
In the Girls Division, Wong proved to be a strong competitor, leading the field by two strokes. Wong is participating in her first AJGA Open event, after winning the Preseason Junior at Brookhaven in April.
“I don't want to get too ahead of myself,” Wong said. “Playing with good players makes me want to play just as good as them.”
Patricia Lee of Lone Tree, Colo., follows close behind Wong after the first round with a 2-over-par 73. Tezira Abe of Angleton, Texas and Brenna Nelsen of Monte Sereno, Calif. shot a 3-over-par 74 to tie for third.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Second-round tee times will run 7 a.m. — 12: 20 p.m. Wednesday at Aspen Golf Club. For more information about the Aspen Golf Classic presented by Jim McLean contact tournament headquarters at (678) 617-2417.