FIRST ROUND 70 GIVES MCCONNELL EARLY LEAD AT COLONIAL
Beeler leads all girls with 2-over 74
JACKSON, Miss. â€” Paul McConnell of Garland, Texas used a first-round 2-under-par 70 to lead the way at the Nike Golf Junior at Colonial presented by Mississippi Farm Bureau. Butler, Ill. native Brooke Beeler leads the Girls Division with a 2-over-par 74.
The Nike Golf Junior at Colonial presented by Mississippi Farm Bureau is a 54-hole stroke play tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Colonial Country Club in Jackson, Miss. The 80-player field boasts juniors from 19 states and South Korea. The Nike Golf Junior All-Star series allows players ages 12-15 to develop their skills and earn entry into other AJGA tournaments.
McConnell, who returns to the Nike Golf Junior at Colonial presented by Mississippi Farm Bureau, used two birdies on his final nine holes to finish with a one shot lead on the field.
â€śWhenever I'm under par I feel very steady,â€ť said McConnell, who is looking to â€śkeep focused and steady because there are a lot of birdie holes out there.â€ť
Rounding out the top-five in Tuesday's first round were Travis Ralph of Redington Beach, Fla., Nicko Dodd of Sugar Land, Texas and Kyle English of Bloomington, Ill. Each ended the day with a 1-under-par 71. Sam Braver of Roswell, Ga. and Bobby Wyatt of Mobile, Ala. both carded even par 72s to finish only two shots back.
Beeler, who is participating in her first ever AJGA event leads the field by two strokes after carding a 2-over-par 74. She is no stranger to leading golf tournaments and hopes to draw on that experience as she tries to pick up a victory in her first AJGA event. Beeler said of her round that â€śit feels great to be leading after the first round, I am very proud of that.â€ť
Rounding out the top three for the girls were Kyndall Ardoin of Gibsland, La., Betsy Birchall of Birmingham, Ala. and Lauren English of Bloomington, Ill. Each carded 4-over-par 76s to finish two strokes off the lead.
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 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, 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
The second round will be a 7:30 a.m. start on the No. 1 and 10 tees at Colonial Country Club on Wednesday. For more information about the Nike Golf Junior at Colonial presented by Mississippi Farm Bureau, please contact tournament headquarters at 601-956-8567.