Ohio Natives Bernard and Huggins Share Lead after Second Round at AJGA Junior at Quad Cities
Talley maintains lead in Girls Division and looks for a repeat victory
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Michael Bernard of Huber Heights, Ohio, and Nick Huggins of Marietta, Ohio, are tied for the lead in the Boys Division at the AJGA Junior at Quad Cities after shooting second-round scores of 1-over-par 72 and even-par 71, respectively. Hoping to claim a second consecutive win at this event, last year's champion Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., shot an even-par 71 to keep the lead in the Girls Division heading into Thursday's final round.
The AJGA Junior at Quad Cities is a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Club in Rock Island, Ill. The 140-player field features 106 boys and 34 girls, ages 12-18, from 25 states, Canada, China and Thailand. The Boys Division is playing the par-71 course at 6,573 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 6,060 yards.
Bernard, who shot 1-under-par in the first round, kept his consistency on the course finishing Wednesday with a 1-over-par 72 for a two-day total of even-par 142. Bernard admitted his shots were sporadic today, but he was able to scramble well and post a good score.
“Even if I hit the ball bad, I'm pretty good at my short game,” Bernard said. “My putting has been pretty good.”
Looking to continue posting low scores, Bernard said he plans to take tomorrow's final round one shot at a time and simply make good shots.
Huggins also stayed consistent, posting a second straight even-par 71 for a two-day total of even-par 142. Starting the day strong, Huggins attacked the first two par-5s to card eagles. Huggins said he played solid golf all day, however windy conditions made his back nine tough.
“The wind got real nasty,” Huggins said. “You definitely have to think about your tee shots. You need to be smart.”
Heading into the final round with a share of the lead for the first time, Huggins said he is happy to be in position to win.
“It feels good,” Huggins said. “I want to go out and win it.”
Mitchell Homb of Dixon, Ill., is in third with a two-day total of 2-over-par 144. Ian Vandersee of West Des Moines, Iowa, Blake Biddle of St. Charles, Ill., and Stephen Powers of Naperville, Ill., are all tied for fourth after shooting 4-over-par 146.
Talley, a two-time honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American, played another solid round of golf Wednesday. Firing an even-par 71, Talley leads the Girls Division with a 1-over-par 143 after two rounds. Carding two birdies on the day, one coming from a chip in on No. 12 and the second on the par-5 No. 2, Talley said she played better golf today.
“I played better today than I did yesterday even though my score wasn't much better,” Talley said. “Yesterday I didn't play very good and my score was lower than it should have been. Today I feel like my score was higher than it should have been.”
Talley said she was able to keep her ball in the fairway a little more today, but putting restricted her from scoring a low round.
“I couldn't make a putt worth anything,” Talley said. “I was making all my par putts but I couldn't make any birdie putts. None of them would fall.”
Talley plans to keep improving her game going into Thursday's final round by changing a few shot selections, but her ultimate goal is to hoist a second consecutive trophy.
“That would be pretty awesome,” Talley said. “I've never done that before.”
Allisen Corpuz of Honolulu, is in second with a two-day total of 3-over-par 145 and Lauren English of Bloomington, Ill., is in third with a two day total of 4-over-par 146.
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.
Final-round tee times for the AJGA Junior at Quad Cities will run from 7-8:30 a.m. off the Nos.1 and 10 tees at the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Club. For more information about the AJGA Junior at Quad Cities please contact Tournament Director Katie Jared at 678-485-1135, or visit the AJGA website at ajga.org.