Chen and Hartman Share 36-Hole Lead in AJGA Sarasota Junior
Luo and Ramsey tied for lead in Girls Division at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club
SARASOTA, Fla. — Michael Chen of Bradenton, Fla., carded a 5-under-par 67 and Zach Hartman of St. Simons Island, Ga., fired a 4-under-par 68 to share the lead in the AJGA Sarasota Junior at 4-under-par 140. Ashlan Ramsey of Bradenton, Fla., and Linda Luo of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., are both leading in the Girls Division at 2-under-par 142.
The AJGA Sarasota Junior is a 54-hole tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club. The event features 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18, from 11 states, China, Argentina, Paraguay, Columbia, Chile, Brazil, South Africa and the Philippines. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 7,009 yards while the Girls Division is playing the course at 6,050 yards.
Chen is hoping to continue playing consistently and putting well as he enters the final round.
“I made a few twenty-foot putts today,” Chen said. “I am looking to stay consistent and play like I did today and maybe I will win the tournament.”
Hartman carded six birdies in the second round and says his ball striking and putting were the difference.
“I hit a lot of greens today and then made my putts instead of missing them like I did yesterday,” Hartman said. “The putts were closer than yesterday too because my ball striking was better.”
Shugo Imahira of Bradenton, Fla., stands alone in third at 3-under-par 141. Zach Botts of Jonesborough, Tenn., made a hole-in-one on the par-3 13th hole and is in fourth at 2-under par 142. First-round leaders Sepp Straka of Valdosta, Ga., and Chenxiao Duan of Bradenton, Fla, fell back into a tie for fifth with Robert De Biase of North Miami, Fla., at 1-under-par 143.
In the Girls Division, Luo of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., rebounded after bogeying the first three holes on her second nine to card a 2-over-par 74.
“The fourth hole was a turning point for me after bogeying three holes in a row,” Luo said. “I told myself to trust my swing and I made par and my game just came back after that. I went on to birdie three of my last four holes.”
Ashlan Ramsey of Bradenton, Fla., says that the key for her going into the final round is to stay focused on playing her own game.
“I need to play one shot at a time and not worry about my opponents,” Ramsey said. “I need to go out and play my own game like I have the first two rounds.”
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.
Thursday's final-round tee times for the AJGA Sarasota Junior will run from 7:30 — 9:27 a.m. off of tee Nos. 1 and 10 at The Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club. For more information, please call Tournament Director Andrew Greenfield at (770) 601-8922.