AJGA RICHMOND JUNIOR
Salisbury Country Club
August 16-19, 2004
GRANADA FIRES 68 TO GRAB LEAD IN GIRLS DIVISION
Three tied for lead in Boys Division
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Julieta Granada of Asuncion, Paraguay, carded a first-round 68 and currently holds a 3-stroke lead in the Girls Division of the AJGA Richmond Junior. Timothy Kelly of Staten Island, N.Y., Kevin O’Connell of Cary, N.C., and Michael Williams of Hilton Head, S.C., carded matching first-round 70s Tuesday and currently sit tied atop the leaderboard in the Boys Division.
The AJGA Richmond Junior is a 54-stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The tournament features 99 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-18, from 18 states, Canada and Paraguay. Highlighting the field is Rolex Junior All-Americans Brian Belden of Emmaus, Pa., Taylor Bunnell of Germantown, Tenn., Stephanie Connelly of Pasadena, Md., and Granada. In 2004, Granada has already claimed victory at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, the Randall Parker Shootout at Fieldstone and the U.S. Girls Amateur.
Granada’s round of 4-under-par 68 began with nine straight pars on the front-nine and included zero missed greens, and only one missed fairway.
“My front-nine was frustrating,” Granada said. “I hit great shots but nothing happened. I didn’t putt too well today, but I hit a lot of fairways and greens”
The 17-year-old’s back-nine was where she got hot, as she carded birdies on Nos. 10, 14, 15 and 16 and fired a back-nine 32.
“As I got to the back I knew if I stayed patient the birdies would come,” Granada commented. “I started to hit more short putts and I was able to go low. Hopefully I’ll be able to putt better tomorrow and continue hitting fairways and greens."
Debbi Amanti of Lynnfield, Mass., Kasi Lee of Paramus, N.J., and Kimberly Donovan of Hopkinton, Mass., are currently tied for second behind Granada after carding 1-under-par 71s.
In the Boys Division, Kelly’s 2-under-par round was highlighted by three birdies, including two to start the day on Nos. 1 and 2, and an eagle on the par-4, 394-yard 15th hole.
“I hit the ball very well today,” Kelly said. “I hit my approach shots to within 3 feet and birdied Nos. 1 and 2-which really got me going. On No. 15, I was 120-yards out, hit a great approach shot 8 feet past the hole and spun it back in.”
Kelly, 15, is coming off a recent victory at last week’s Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees Resort.
“I definitely came into this event with some confidence and momentum,” Kelly commented. “I just want to continue to play well Wednesday and stay in the hunt.”
The 16-year-old O’Connell carded five birdies during Tuesday’s round of 34-36—70.
“I hit a lot of greens today (13) and that helped a lot,” O’Connell said. “I got up-and-down from the greens that I missed for most of the day and drove the ball well.”
O’Connell is looking for his second AJGA victory, his first coming at the 2003 Nike Golf Junior at Jacksonville.
“I think that if I can drive the ball well and continue hitting greens I can do well here,” O’Connell remarked.
Rounding out the three-way tie for first is the 18-year-old Williams who is competing in his final AJGA event.
“The greens were rolling nicely today and I putted pretty well,” Williams said. “I just played consistently throughout the day.”
The Florida Gulf Coast signee’s round of 70 was his first round under par in an AJGA event.
“I’m going to be starting college pretty soon and this is definitely going to help my game;” Williams said.
Closing out the top-5 in the Boys Division following Tuesday’s first-round action are four juniors tied for fourth. Chris Rockwell of Owings Mills, Md., Timothy Courtney of Midlothian, Va., Jay Whitby of Wyoming, Del., and Brian Belden all carded matching 1-under-par 71s.
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 has a membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
The AJGA Richmond Junior will resume Wednesday with second-round tee times beginning at 7 a.m. off the No. 1 tee at Salisbury Country Club. For more information about the AJGA Richmond Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (804) 794-8255.