Celebration Golf Club
Celebration, Florida
September 20-22, 2002

Peckels fires 4-under-par 68 to capture the lead at the AJGA Ashworth Postseason Junior at Celebration

CELEBRATION, Fla. - Eddie Peckels of Delray Beach, Fla., scorched the par-72 Celebration Golf Club Saturday by carding a 4-under-par 68 for the lead after the first round of the AJGA Ashworth Postseason Junior at Celebration.

The second annual Ashworth Postseason Junior at Celebration, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 84 boys representing 17 states and Canada who are participating in this 36-hole stroke play competition. Forty-five juniors from Florida are included in the field.

The 16-year-old Peckels (35-33-68) started early with a birdie on the par-4, 371-yard first hole. Peckels carded a 1-under 35 on the front nine and looked to post the low round of the day.

"I putted pretty well today. My longest putt I made was about 15-feet," the high school junior said. "Heading into tomorrow's round, I just want to continue to putt well and hit fairways and greens."

Not only was Peckels' putter his secret recipe in Saturday's round, but his newly purchased 2-iron was also a key ingredient.

"I just bought my 2-iron two days ago that really kept me in play all day. Before today, I had to use my 3-iron that only carried me about 220 yards," Peckels said. "Now with my 2-iron, I can hit the ball about 240 to 250 yards."

The point that really set the momentum for Peckels was his impressive birdie on the par-4, 450-yard 11th when he hacked his second shot 240 yards out of the rough with a 2-iron to within 15-feet of the hole.

"I think No. 11 is probably the hardest hole on the course. That birdie really helped my confidence for the rest of the round," he said.

Peckels, who qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur and narrowly missed the cut for match play by three strokes, fired a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine to cap his performance and claim the lead by two strokes.

Trailing Peckels is fellow Florida native Larry Lee (37-33-70) of Tamarac, while Mark Long of Huntersville, N.C., finished the day at 35-38-73.

Rounding out the top five at 2-over-par 74 are Florida natives Ryan Rash of Maitland and Olavo Batista Filho of Palm Beach Gardens, and Timothy Tang of North Charleston, S.C.

The AJGA Ashworth Preseason/Postseason Junior Series expanded to eight tournaments in 2002 from the six featured last year. The series is designed to provide playing opportunities for juniors who have not yet played in an AJGA Tournament. Players who finish in the top 15, including ties, receive at least one automatic entry into future AJGA Tournaments.

The AJGA Ashworth Postseason Junior at Celebration concludes Sunday, with final-round tee times from 8 a.m. and 9:57 a.m. off of the No. 1 and 10 tees at the Celebration Golf Club.

For more information on the AJGA Ashworth Postseason Junior at Celebration, please contact the AJGA headquarters at (407) 566-1710.

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