VONGVANIJ LEADS PING JUNIOR AT THE WOODLANDS BY TWO STROKES
Burlison, Patipaksiri shoot 3-under-par to lead Girls Division
THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Arnond Vongvanij of Bradenton, Fla., shot a first-round 5-under-par 67 to lead the Boys Division field by two strokes at the PING Junior at The Woodlands Friday. Sydney Burlison of Salinas, Calif., and Lalita Patipaksiri of Cypress, Calif., shot matching 3-under-par 69s to lead the Girls Division after the first round of competition.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Junior at The Woodlands is being held at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center on the Panther Trail Course. The par-72 course is set up at 6,837 yards for the Boys Division and 6,001 for the Girls. The tournament field consists of 90 boys and 45 girls from 19 states and Canada, including 71 residents from the state of Texas.
Vongvanij shot a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine, followed by a back-side 32, which included five birdies (Nos. 12, 14, 15, 16, 18) and one bogey (No. 17). Vongvanij made par on the first eight holes, then two-putted for birdie on No. 9, a 510-yard, par 5.
“I hit the ball really well the first nine holes, I just didn't feel comfortable putting,” said Vongvanij. “After I missed two birdies inside 10 feet on No. 10 and 11, I was happy when I finally made a (birdie) putt on No. 12. After that, everything felt right.”
Kevin Tway of Edmond, Okla., is in second with a 69, followed by a third-place three-way tie at 70 among Paul Haley of Dallas, Tommy Chung Hao Mou of Bradenton, Fla., and Andrew Patipaksiri, brother of Girls Division leader Lalita. Five boys shot 71 for the fifth position in the tournament, including Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., Patrick Reed of Baton Rouge, La., Cody Gribble of Dallas, and Alex Moon, also of Dallas.
In the Girls Division, the leaders, who played in the same threesome, each shot bogey-free rounds of 3-under-par. Burlison, who placed third in the event last year, carded birdies on Nos. 2, 5 and 6, while Patipaksiri, who is playing in her first PING Junior at The Woodlands, birdied Nos. 2, 11 and 16.
“I didn't have a bogey so it was an easy day,” said Burlison. “Today I just wanted to get a good feel of the course and focus on hitting fairways and greens. Tomorrow I just want to go out, relax and have fun.”
Patipaksiri is also confident in her feel for the course and is anticipating her second-round of play.
“I was hitting accurate shots all around,” said Patipaksiri. “I had trouble reading the back (nine) greens, but luckily I had a few two-foot putts to save par. I know I can play this course, so tomorrow I just want to go out and play par golf.”
Katie Conway of Wading River, N.Y., posted a 71 to currently sit in third place. Sarah Zwartynski of Allen, Texas and Kerri Connolly of Duxbury, Mass., round out the top five of the Girls Division following the first round.
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 be Saturday from 7:30 — 9:18 a.m. and 12 — 1:30 p.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at the Panther Trail Course.
For more information, please call tournament headquarters at (678) 571-7994, or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.
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