HICKOK ONLY PLAYER UNDER PAR AFTER FIRST ROUND AT ROYAL MELBOURNE
Rohrback paces Girls Division amidst blustery conditions
LONG GROVE, Ill. — Kramer Hickok of Plano, Texas, took the Boys Division lead Tuesday in the Midwest Junior Players Championship after firing an opening-round 4-under-par 68. With low scores at a premium and the golf course playing long, Hickok managed to set the pace as the only player in the tournament field to break 70. In the Girls Division, Kaitlyn Rohrback, 16, of Crofton, Md., sits atop the leader board after shooting a 2-over-par 74. With two top-five finishes already in her young AJGA career, Rohrback will look to capitalize on her stellar opening round and earn her first career victory this week.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Midwest Junior Players Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at the Royal Melbourne Country Club. The 98-player field featured players ages 12-18 from 18 states and Canada. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,635 while the Girls Division is playing at 6,037.
Hickok, 16, got off to a blazing start, producing three birdies on his first five holes. He carried that early momentum throughout the duration of his round, and his consistency despite a wet course is why he leads after round one. After one of the only hiccups in his round, a bogey on the par-5 No. 15, Hickok came back strong to birdie No. 16 and regain his stride.
“Hole No. 16 was big, I birdied that hole and it helped me come back strong after the bogey,” Hickok said. “I just have to stick to the game plan tomorrow.”
Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division were Erik Hoops of Perrysburg, Ohio, Cyril Suk of Bradenton, Fla., Daniel Schaller of St. Louis, Mo. and Theodore Lederhausen of Hinsdale, Ill., all of whom shot a 2-over-par 74.
Rohrback also got off to a fast start and just like Hickok, she fired three birdies in her first five holes. Her third birdie, carded on the par-3 No. 5, was punctuated by a 15-foot putt on what most players would consider a very complex green to read. The challenging hole locations and prevailing wind did not seem to faze Rohrback, as her putting was impeccable and her drives were straight almost all day.
“I like these greens a lot,” Rohrback said. “I like putts with a lot of breaks, and these greens were somewhat easy for me to read.”
One stroke out of the lead is Valentina Florentine, 16, of Hilton Head Island, S.C. Florentine, who sits alone in second after carding a 37 -38 — 75. She is familiar with her position on the leader board after last week's John Deere Classic Junior Open, during which she fired a final-round low score to come back and earn a tie for second place.
Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division is Ariana Patterson, 17, of Carmel, Calif., who carded a 38-38 — 76.
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 49 states and 25 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 AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
Second-round tee times for the Midwest Junior Players Championship will run from 7 — 11:48 a.m. off the No. 1 tee at Royal Melbourne Country Club. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Andrew Parr at (770) 503-4303.