THREE SHOOT 5-UNDER 67 IN FIRST ROUND AT MIRASOL
White leads by six shots in Girls Division, two tied atop the Boys Division
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. Dolores White of Lakeland, Fla., needed only 25 putts in an opening-round 67 to claim the Girls Division lead by six shots after 18 holes at the PING Junior at Mirasol. Five-under also leads the Boys Division, as Michael Saari of Lilburn, Ga., and Robbie Wight of West Palm Beach, Fla., shot 67 in Wednesday's first round.
Played at the site of the PGA TOUR's The Honda Classic, the PING Junior at Mirasol is a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association and features junior golfers from 15 states, Canada and China, including 64 from the state of Florida.
With tight fairways and thick rough indicative of a PGA TOUR-level course, White said green reading was the key to the only sub-par round in the Girls Division. The Rolex Junior All-American tallied eight birdies on the day, including four in a row on the front nine, but did not put pressure on herself.
I was so relaxed today, White said. I didn't feel like I was shooting lights out. I've made mistakes in the past expecting too much from myself, and I don't want to do that again.
Three players sit in tie for second and trail White by six shots heading into the second round. Megan McChrystal of Stuart, Fla., 2002 Rolex Junior Player of the Year In-Bee Park of Las Vegas, Nev., and Srixon Qualifier medalist Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ontario, shot rounds of 1-over 73.
The Boys Division leaders also used strings of birdies en route to their 2-shot leads. Wight opened the round with birdies on five of his first six holes, propelling him to a front-nine 31.
It feels good to get off to a good start, but I'm happy I didn't put myself out of the tournament today, Wight said.
In contrast to Wight's hot start, Saari ended his round in similar fashion. With birdies on four of his last five holes, Wight jumped to the top of the Boys Division to share the lead with Saari.
I got in a zone. Every birdie was a tap-in and I got some good bounces, Saari said. I need to work on hitting good golf shots. The worst thing I can do is get ahead of myself.
Overall, 16 boys shot scores of even-par or better on the 6,911-yard Sunrise Course at The Country Club of Mirasol. Cameron Knight of Dade City, Fla., shot a 69 and sits in third place, while defending champion David Palm of Jacksonville, Fla., and Raj Nahal of Longwood, Fla., round out the top five in the Boys Division with rounds of 2-under 70.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior 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, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
Second-round tee times will run from 7:30 to 9:27 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at The Country Club at Mirasol. For more information on the PING Junior at Mirasol, please contact tournament headquarters (561) 776-4949 ext. 105.