SHEARY LEADS GIRLS DIVISION BY SEVEN STROKES AFTER TWO ROUNDS
Park, Paladino finish at 3-under-par 139 to move to top of Boys Division
ELVERSON, Pa. â€” Natalie Sheary of West Hartford, Conn., shaved two strokes off her first-round 69 by carding a 67 in the second round of the CorseMax/Philadelphia Runner with a two-round, 4-under-par 136. Cody Paladino of Kensington, Conn., and Alexander Park of Ithaca, N.Y., went 4-under-par 67 and 2-under-par 69, respectively, to lead the Boys Division with 18 holes to play.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, The CorseMax/Philadelphia Runner Junior is being held at the French Creek Golf Club. Ninety-eight junior golfers from 21 states, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, including 18 from Pennsylvania, are competing in the 54-hole stroke play event.
After missing a three-foot putt for birdie on No. 1, and four-putting from 20 feet out on No. 2, Sheary said she was worried with how the rest of the round would turn out. From there she went birdie, eagle, birdie on Nos. 3 - 5 and made the turn at 3-under-par 32.
â€śI did not start out how I wanted to,â€ť she said. â€śBut within three holes, I went from two-over to two-under.â€ť
Sheary had back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14, which were off-set by birdies on Nos. 12 and 15 to end the back nine at even par. During the final round, Sheary said she will primarily use her driver and wedges, which she is most accurate with. She said tough hole locations would work to her advantage because she is confident she could play them well.
â€śI feel in control of everything,â€ť she said. â€śThe course is short, but the greens are quick; you definitely need to think. On the par-3s, you need game plans for those. My goal is to shoot in the 60s all three days.â€ť
Meredith Kotowski of Marion, Mass., remains in second with a 3-over-par 143, while Michelle Grilli of Lutherville, Md., carded a two-round 146 and will enter the final round in third.
In the Boys Division, Paladino was nearly perfect, statistically, missing just one fairway and hitting 14 greens. He had 29 putts compared to 34 in the first round. He started strong with a birdie on No. 1 and ended the round with six birdies and two bogeys. On the par-5 No. 6, Paladino's 40-yard approach shot landed in the cup and bounced out, 20 feet away from the hole, however, he made the putt for birdie.
â€śIf I wouldn't have made birdie there, I would've been discouraged,â€ť he said. â€śToday, I hit a lot of greens and kept the ball in play. I gave myself a lot of chances. It was a fun day today. I just want to go out, have fun and play well tomorrow.â€ť
Although he is a co-leader after two rounds, Park was disappointed with his round, saying he could have done better after hitting just five fairways. He ended the round with six birdies and four bogeys.
â€śI was four under today and gave it away,â€ť he said. â€śMy irons gave me a chance to make birdie on every hole. My irons and putting are what kept me going today.â€ť
In third after 36 holes is Patrick Hinch of Aberdeen, Md., at even par-142. Tied for fourth at 143 are Sean Brannan of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and Dan Rexon of Haddonfield, N.J.
Another highlight from the round was Kevin Foley of Somerville, N.J., tying the French Creek Golf Club course record with a 6-under-par 65.
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 countries.
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 and Cristie Kerr.
Final-round tee times will begin Thursday at 7 a.m. The Boys Division with tee off first followed by the Girls Division from 9:42 to 10:45 a.m. The leader groups of the Boys Division will start from 10:54 to 11:48 a.m. For more information on the CorseMax/Philadelphia Runner Junior, call tournament headquarters at (610) 913-6330 and ask for the AJGA.