BURAN BATTLES WEATHER, LEADS FOOTJOY BOYS INVITATIONAL
Kittleson, Cole two shots back
GREENSBORO, N.C. β Thomas Buran of Scottsdale, Ariz., fought the weather to take a two-shot lead in the second round of the FootJoy Boys Invitational on Wednesday after firing a 69 to go to 8-under-par 136 for the tournament.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the FootJoy Boys Invitational is a 72-hole tournament being held at Forest Oaks Country Club. Twenty-five states, Australia, Canada, Japan, Slovenia and Taiwan are represented in the 99-player field. Included in the field are 32 Rolex Junior All-Americans. Forest Oaks Country Club, playing to 7,280 yards is home to the PGA TOUR's Chrysler Classic of Greensboro.
Buran, 18, teed off in the second group of the day. The weather conditions were anything but ideal as players dealt with remnants of Tropical Storm Alberto. He said it was tough, but he was able to grind through it.
βI'm from Northern California but moved to Scottsdale, Ariz.,β Buran said. βI was born in the rain, but I have not played in it lately.β
Buran was even-par going into the ninth hole when a four-hour rain delay halted play. Once play started back up, the rain was gone and the sun came out for much more playable conditions, and Buran came out firing with a birdie on No. 9. He was able to play the entire back nine after the rain, and took full advantage.
βThere was a big difference in play,β Buran said. βThe course played so much longer in the rain.β
Buran credited his 3-under-par round to his putter.
βI made a lot of good saves, especially in the rain.β Buran said.
Buran's best finish at an AJGA event was a tie for third place at the 2005 AJGA Andover Open, so leading the FootJoy Boys Invitational is a new and desired feeling.
βIt feels great to lead,β Buran said. βI got a new coach and it is working well.β
Eleven players are within five shots of Buran. Tied for second place are Spencer Cole of Greer, S.C., and Drew Kittleson of Scottsdale, Ariz., at 138; Wes Roach of Knoxville, Tenn., is in fourth place at 139; Hunter Slatton of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is in fifth place at 140; and tied for sixth place are: Bud Cauley of Jacksonville, Fla., Chesson Hadley of Raleigh, N.C., Jack Fields of Southern Pines, N.C., Andrew Yun of Tacoma, Wash., Gregor Main of Danville, Calif., Ryan Thomas of Alameda, Calif., and Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif., at 141.
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 an annual 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 is in 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 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.
Third-round tee times will run from 7-11:48 a.m. Thursday off the No. 1 tee at Forest Oaks Country Club. After play, the field will be cut to the top-60 players and ties. For more information, contact tournament headquarters at (336) 674-4137.