ABILENE REPORTER-NEWS / LAWRENCE HALL ABILENE JUNIOR
Abilene Country Club
Abilene, Texas
July 14-17, 2003

HOWARD LEADS AFTER ROUND TWO AT 8-UNDER-PAR 134
Creamer continues to lead Girls Division at 7-under-par 135

ABILENE, Texas - Cole Howard of Burleson, Texas, leads the Boys Division of the Abilene Reporter-News / Lawrence Hall Abilene Junior with an 8-under-par 134 after Wednesday's second round. In the Girls Division, Paula Creamer of Pleasanton, Calif., is in the lead at 7-under-par 135.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Abilene Reporter-News / Lawrence Hall Abilene Junior is a 54-hole tournament, featuring 120 players representing five states and Mexico, including 99 players from Texas.

Howard, 17, said he knew he would have to get up and down with his short irons and approach shots consistently to be in contention for the lead. Howard did just that by sailing a 100-yard wedge shot out and over the trees on the 400-yard, par-4 third hole to leave him a tap in for birdie.

"My short game was awesome today," Howard said. "I'm striving for consistency especially in my longer irons and I'm working on getting the ball up and down with my approach shots."

Howard (68-66-134) hit 15 greens to tally six birdies and one bogey and is pleased with his game going into the final round.

"I'm going to go out and have fun," Howard said. "I'm simply going to play my own game and not everyone else's."

Trey Todd of Abilene, Texas, ended his second round at 7-under-par 135. Motivated by back-to-back birdies on Nos. 8 and 9, the 18-year-old Todd will focus on his putting and consistency as he enters the final round.

"I struggled a lot with my putting on the front nine," Todd said. "I started to keep my head down longer during my putts and everything started dropping in the hole. I'm trying to stay patient with my game. If I miss a putt, I just go on to the next hole."

Tied for third place in the Boys Division at 6-under-par 136 are Harris Graham of Argyle, Texas, Michael Douthit of Palestine, Texas, and defending champion and first-round leader Jeremy Frye of Palestine, Texas.

In the Girls Division, the 16-year-old Creamer looks to sink more putts during the final round.

"I hit a 200-yard approach shot and chipped it in for eagle on No. 7," Creamer said. "But I couldn't seem to get my putting to work today. I know I simply need to make more tomorrow."

Lauren Espinosa of Irving, Texas, ended her round at 2-under-par 69 bringing her two-day total 5-under-par 137. Espinosa is confident in her game for the final round of play.

"I hit 16 greens today and everything was feeling good," Espinosa, 16, said. "I'm very confident right now, more confident than usual. I know that Paula is going to play well and that my game needs to be on."

Sharing third-place in the Girls Division at 6-over-par 148 are Brittany Tomerlin of San Angelo, Texas, and Christa Spedding of Granbury, Texas.

The Abilene Reporter-News / Lawrence Hall Abilene Junior continues at 7:00 a.m. Thursday off the No. 1 tee at Abilene Country Club. For more information on the event, call tournament headquarters at (915) 692-1855.

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