Feng, Carbajo Re, and Jutanugarn atop the leaderboard at Long Cove Club
HILTON HEAD, S.C. Yueer Cindy Feng of Orlando, Fla., Manuela Carbajo Re of Necochea, Argentina, and Ariya Jutanugarn of Bangkok, Thailand, each fired 3-under-par 68 Tuesday at Long Cove Club to share the lead at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship.
The Rolex Girls Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke play tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Long Cove Club in Hilton Head, S.C. The tournament field features 76 girls, ages 12-18, from 17 states, Japan, Argentina, Colombia, Thailand, Mexico, Northern Ireland and Venezuela. The field is playing the par-71 course at 6,229 yards.
Facing high temperatures and humidity, the three leaders all had birdie-filled rounds. Feng, who won the Thunderbird International Junior in May, said it was rewarding knowing she has been playing well.
It definitely helps to know that my game was ready, but this is a different course, different conditions, Feng said. You still have to play good and work hard.
Feng admitted that her round was a little up and down, but overall she was pleased with her play. Feng had five birdies on the front side, but carded two bogeys to go out in 3-under-par 33. She shot even-par 35 on the back side, but said that making birdie on No. 18 after a bogey on No. 17 was her defining moment of the day.
My front nine was better, Feng said. I had more birdies and I was hitting it closer to the pin. On the back nine I was just kind of cruising along. I didn't have any great shots or putts until the last hole where I made birdie.
Jutanugarn shot 1-over-par 37 on the front nine to start her round, but thanks to a red-hot putter, she birdied five of her first six holes on the back side to shoot a 4-under-par 31.
Carbajo Re, playing in her first AJGA Invitational, said she was nervous going off the first tee. However, a birdie on the second hole quickly changed her spirits. Firing a 2-under-par 34 on both nines, Carbajo Re said her putting made her round.
I didn't play great at all, but my putter was perfect, Carbajo Re said.
She made a few long putts on her round and had birdies on the first three of the four par-3 holes, as well as a birdie on the par-5 No. 15. Playing in the final pairing on Wednesday, Carbajo Re said she just wants to have fun.
Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale, Ga., is in fourth place after shooting a 2-under-par 69. Victoria Tanco of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Marijosse Navarro of San Antonio, Texas, and Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., are all tied for fifth at 1-under-par 70.
Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Tournament of Champions and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
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. 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 for the Rolex Girls Junior Championship will run from 7:30-9:18 a.m. off of the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Long Cove Club. For more information about the Rolex Girls Junior Championship please contact Tournament Director Julie Kickbusch at (843) 686-1000, or visit the AJGA website at ajga.org.