SOBEL TAKES SOLE POSSESION OF BOYS DIVISION LEAD WITH SECOND ROUND 3-UNDER-PAR 69
Na and Burnett Share Girls Division Lead at Boyne Highlands Resort - Moor Course
HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. — Zachery Sobel of Clearwater Beach, Fla., took ownership of the Boys Division leaderboard Thursday at the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands after recording a two-day total of 6-under-par 138. Grace Na of Oakland, Calif., and Katie Burnett of Brunswick, Ga., share the lead in the Girls Division with a two-day total of 4-over-par 148.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at the Boyne Highlands Resort — Moor Course. The 144-player field consists of 102 boys and 42 girls, ages 12-18, from 20 states, Canada and Thailand. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,850 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 6,104 yards.
Sobel, who started the second round tied for first, began with a birdie on the par-4 No. 10 and continued to card five more throughout the day. After a string of pars, the 17-year-old found his confidence on the seventh hole when he made a 20-foot putt for birdie that evoked a fist pump out of him in celebration.
“That was the best part of my round,” Sobel said. “I was sick of struggling. It's easy to make pars but I know that pars aren't going to win it. You have to stay hungry for birdies.”
Sitting four strokes behind the leader is Zachary Balit of Bradenton, Fla., with a two-day total of 2-under-par 142. In third is Blake English of Charlotte, Mich., with a two-day total of even-par 144. Seven strokes behind the leader in fourth is Joey Garber of Petoskey, Mich., with a two-day total of 1-over-par 145 and rounding out the top five is Zhong Yang Fu of Bradenton, Fla., with a two-day total of 3-over-par 147.
In the Girls Division, Na, who came to the Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands by herself from California, is hoping to find out what she can accomplish on her own. The 15-year-old came into the second round the leader by two strokes but carded a double bogey on the par-5 No. 14. She rebounded with a chip in for birdie on the next hole to finish the second round with a 4-over-par 76.
“I really didn't expect some of the tough breaks I had during my round,” Na said. “But tomorrow I'll forget about the second round like I forgot about the first round today. I'm looking forward to the final round and I believe that I'm going to be lucky tomorrow.”
Burnett, who came in to the day's round in second, recorded three birdies on the day to put her atop the leaderboard with Na. The 18-year-old's birdies on Nos. 3 and 8 contributed to her 1-under-par 35 on her last nine to end the second round with a 2-over-par 74. Burnett heads into the final round looking to win her first AJGA event before she goes to college.
“Tomorrow I'm going to have fun and whatever happens happens,” Burnett said. “I can't control what others do. I can just control me and the happier I am the better I usually play.”
Joining Na and Burnett atop the Girls Division leaderboard in third is Madison Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla., with a two-day total of 5-over-par 149.
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.
Final-round tee times for Coca-Cola Junior Championship at Boyne Highlands run from 7:30 — 9:09 a.m. and 12:30 — 2:09 p.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tee at Boyne Highlands Resort — Moor Course Friday. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Whitney Ross at (770) 861-0519.