Highland Creek Golf Club
Charlotte, North Carolina
July 21-24, 2003

Shirley leads at 74 in the Girls Division

CHARLOTTE, N.C.- Mark Harrell of Hazlehurst, Ga., and Clint Smith of Asheboro, N.C., shot a 2-under-par 70 to take the first-round lead in the Boys Division in the AJGA IRI Golf Group Highland Creek Junior. Margaret Shirley of Roswell, Ga., shot a 2-over-par 74 to lead in the Girls Division.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the IRI Golf Group Highland Creek Junior features 102 players, 81 boys and 21 girls, from 16 states and France. The field features 45 North Carolina natives and 12 from the Charlotte area.

Harrell had only 26 putts on the day and carded six birdies, three of which were only feet from the hole.

"I hit my driver in the fairway," the 17-year-old said. "That is a big improvement for me and hopefully I will be able do well in this tournament. I have been so close recently in other tournaments."

In the 2003 season, Harrell has placed thirteenth in the AJGA TaylorMade-adidas Golf Junior at Chateau Elan and recently finished eighth in the AJGA Avila Junior Classic.

Smith had five birdies and made two 10-foot putts for par.

"My putting was definitely on today," said the 18-year-old. "I only missed three greens and three fairways. Hopefully I can keep it up for two more days."

Tied for third in the Boys Division are Luke Hopkins of Greer, S.C., Andrew Byrd of Oxford, N.C., at 1-under-par 71. Rounding out the top five at 74 are Paul Woodbury of Lake City, S.C., Preston Yates of Winston-Salem, N.C., Glenn Northcutt of Dothan, Ala, and Mu Hu of Bradenton, Fla.

Shirley started her round with three bogeys in the first four holes, but said she started hitting her drives a lot better than she has in awhile. She had two birdies on Nos. 12 and 14.

"Of course I would like to win," said the 17-year-old. "But I don't want to look that far ahead."

Shirley has had a solid summer after placing fourth at the AJGA Dunlop Carolina Junior Championshp, ninth at the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions and 10th at the AJGA Hargray Junior Classic.

Rounding out the Girls Division top three are Cindy Phillips of Johnson City, Tenn., at 76 and Dolores White of Lakeland, Fla. at 77.

Second-round tee times begin on Wednesday at 7 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. For more information on the AJGA IRI Golf Group Highland Creek Junior call tournament headquarters at (704) 875-9000.

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