TWO SMITHS LEAD AFTER FIRST ROUND OF BLUEGRASS JUNIOR
Solid putting proves key at Bellefonte
ASHLAND, Ky.-- Travis Smith of Terre Haute, Ind., fired a
5-under-par 65 at the first round of the Natural Resource Partners
Bluegrass Junior and is currently in first place in the Boys Division.
In the Girls Division, Jessica Smith of Louisville, Ky., shot a
2-over-par 72 to take the lead.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the
Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior is a 54-hole stroke play
event and is being held at the Bellefonte Country Club. The tournament
features 90 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, from 22 states and Canada.
Smith, 18, who qualified for the tournament on Monday,
solidified his score by carding birdies on the last two holes. Smith
had 13 putts on the front side and only 11 on the back side. Besides
his putter, Smith relied on his 3-iron to help himself stay out of
â€śMy putting was awesome today and every time I hit the
fairway I had a birdie,â€ť Smith said. â€śSince this is my first AJGA event
I just wanted to finish in the Top 10. I didn't know what to expect
coming in because there are so many good players here.â€ť
Matt Becker of Columbia, S.C., is three strokes behind in
second place with a 2-under-par 68. In third place is Cody Gribble of
Dallas, with a 1-under-par 69 and in fourth place is Matt Savage of
Louisville, Ky., with an even-par 70.
Solid putting was also the key to Jessica Smith's success at
Bellefonte Country Club. Smith had only 12 putts on the front nine,
chipped in for birdie on No. 7 and went on to birdie hole Nos. 8, 10
â€śWhenever I needed a good break, I got it,â€ť Smith said. â€śMy
goal was to get in the Top Five coming in and have a good showing at
this tournament, and so far I have done just that.â€ť
Ashley Baker of Dublin, Ohio, and Mallory Blackwelder of
Versailles, Ky., are tied for second place with 74s. Only one shot
behind are Jennifer Johnson of Carlsbad, Calif., and Whitney Neuhauser
of Barboursville, Va., who are tied for fourth place with scores of 75.
Another addition to the excitement of today's first round
was a hole-in-one on No. 3 made by Jonathan Bowers of Upper Arlington,
Ohio. Bower used his 9-iron on the 136-yard par 3 to attain his third
â€śThis was my best hole-in-one yet,â€ť Bowers said. â€śIt was
surreal. I was pretty shocked and was yelling all over the course. I
had to apologize to my group for all the excitement.â€ť
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, the largest Association of
its kind, has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of
approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign
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.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and
professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on
the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 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 begin at 7:00 a.m. Thursday on the
No. 1 tee at Bellefonte Country Club. For more information, call
tournament headquarters at (606) 324-2107 ext. 252.