Oakwood Country Club
Kansas City, Missouri
August 5-8, 2002

Prange takes control of Girls Division

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Jordan Payne of West Memphis, Ark., and Matthew Keith of Springfield, Mo., carded matching rounds of 2-under-par 70 to take the lead after the first round of the AJGA Marsh Kansas City Junior. In the Girls Division, Amber Prange of Noblesville, Ind., is in front after firing a 1-under-par 71. Oakwood Country Club proved to be a tough test for the field as only four juniors finished the round under par.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole event is being held at the par-72 Oakwood Country Club in Kansas City, Mo. The 99-player field features players from 19 states and Japan, including 16 Missouri natives.

Payne, who qualified for the championship in a sudden-death playoff in Sunday's qualifying round, made birdie on four of the first seven holes on the back nine. After finishing the front nine at 1-over-par, Payne started his streak by draining a 20-foot putt for birdie on No. 10 and finished with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3, 192-yard 16th hole.

"I'm really happy with today's round," Payne said. "This is a tough course to walk, but it is in great shape. You can't get aggressive and hit driver on every hole. You have to place your irons well and hope for the best."

Keith finished the front nine at 2-under-par with birdies on holes No. 3 and 6. On the back nine, the 17-year-old carded a birdie on No. 10 and an eagle on No. 15, but a bogey on No. 14 and a double-bogey on No. 16 kept him at 2-under-par for the day.

Ryder Frerichs of Edina, Minn., is one shot off pace at 38-33-71.

David Merkow of Hartland, Wis., Matt Spielmann of Freeport, Ill., and Cameron Bishop of Tulsa, Okla., are tied for fourth at 72.

In the Girls Division, Prange got off to a rocky start as she bogeyed the first and third holes. She rebounded with a birdie on the par-5, 516-yard fourth hole and finished the front nine at even par.

"To be honest, I was hitting greens and making putts all day," Prange said. "When I was two over through three holes I knew I had to keep trying. I just kept my head up and bounced back with a birdie on No. 4."

Prange saw more success on the back nine with birdies on holes No. 10, 15 and 16. The 17-year-old credited her success to a good game plan and consistent play.

"On this course you have to hit good drives and everything else will start to come together," Prange said. "I came into this tournament wanting to win. I've never won an AJGA event and it's one of my main goals. I'm going to touch up on the things I didn't do well today and try to keep it up tomorrow."

Courtney Jones of Lake Quivira, Kan., is two strokes behind Prange at 73. The University of Tulsa signee had a consistent round with four birdies and five bogeys on the day.
Jennifer Hong of Windermere, Fla., and Courtney Mahon of Topeka, Kan., are tied for third at 75.

For more information about the AJGA Marsh Kansas City Junior, please call tournament headquarters at (816) 761-3670.


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