AJGA ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
The Desert Mountain Club, Cochise and Geronimo Courses
July 7-12, 2002
WOOD STEPS INTO BOYS LEAD AT ROLEX INVITATIONAL Shirley shoots 2-under-par on Geronimo for Girls lead
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Taylor Wood of Laguna Niguel,
Calif., kicked off the first round of the AJGA Rolex Tournament
of Champions with a 4-under-par 68, taking the lead in the
Boys Division. Margaret Shirley of Roswell, Ga., scored a
2-under-par 70 to jump into the top spot in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 25th
annual Rolex Tournament of Champions is being held on the
par-72 Cochise and Geronimo courses at The Desert Mountain
Club. The 72-hole event features 169 players - 109 boys and
60 girls - from 30 states and five foreign countries, and
includes 57 Polo Golf Junior All-Americans. Past champions
include Charles Howell III, David Duval, Phil Mickelson, Kellee
Booth and Grace Park.
Wood - who played on the 6,961-yard Cochise course - plowed
through the first round, nailing six birdies and one eagle
on the day to gain a one-stroke lead over Kevin Kisner of
Aiken, S.C., and Randy Lowry of Spring, Texas.
"I hit really well in the beginning," he said. "I
birdied the first three par-3s, which is good because they're
not the easiest holes."
Though the 18-year-old said his play slumped toward the end
of the round, a solid short game saved his below-par performance.
Wood dropped an eagle chip from 15 yards on the par-5, 523-yard
12th hole and hit a left-handed shot from the desert on No.
13 to save par.
Wood said he needs to maintain his consistency during the
second round, when he plays the 7,063-yard Geronimo course.
"I just want to focus on hitting straight off the tee,"
he said. "This is only the first round, there's still
a ton of golf to be played."
Kisner trails Wood by one stroke, making birdie on holes No.
8, 10, 11 and 18 and a lone bogey on No. 1 to score a 3-under-par
69. Though Lowry carded six birdies during the round, three
bogeys placed him tied for second at 69.
Tied for fourth at 2-under-par 70 are Kenny Kim of Cerritos,
Calif., Shane Sigsbee of McKinney, Texas, Luke List of Ringgold,
Ga., Robert Stone of Dallas, defending champion Webb Simpson
of Raleigh, N.C., and Andrew Dresser of Carrollton, Texas.
In the Girls Division, Shirley started the day with a birdie
on the par-4, 375-yard 10th hole and a 55-foot putt for par
on No. 11- and never looked back. The 16-year-old nailed four
more birdies on Nos. 5, 8, 17 and 18 to score a 70 and earn
the Girls Division lead by two strokes.
"I felt really good today," she said. "After
that 55-footer for par, I started thinking it would be a really
Shirley said she was surprised with her score at her first
appearance in the Rolex Tournament of Champions. Shirley played
the Geronimo course - which, according to the players, is
the more difficult of the two.
"I was expecting anything under 80 would be good today,"
she said. "I like [Geronimo] now; I hit a lot of fairways
and made my putts."
Chris Brady of Apex, N.C., Amanda Blumenherst of Scottsdale,
Ariz., and Allison Martin of Bakersfield, Calif., are tied
for second at even-par 72. Though Martin got off to a solid
start with birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 6 and 8, she managed two
more birdies on the back nine to match her six bogeys and
stay at 72 for the round.
Second-round action begins Wednesday off the No. 1 and 10
tees of the Cochise and Geronimo courses. After the second
round, the field will be cut in half for the final two rounds.
For more information about the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions,
please call AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (480) 488-1362
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