ORAEE POSTS CAREER LOW, HEADS INTO FINAL ROUND WITH 13-SHOT LEAD
Navarro erases deficit, charges to front and four-shot lead
ASPEN, Colo. β David Oraee of Greeley, Colo., posted his career tournament low on Tuesday in the first round, and it only took him one day to break it, as he shot a scintillating 8-under-par 64, leaving the field in his rearview mirror and stretching his lead to 13 shots at 14-under-par 130 in the Boys Division of the Junior All-Star at Aspen. In the Girls Division, Marijosse Navarro started the day five shots back of the lead, but ended the day with a four-shot lead, following her second-round 2-under-par 70.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Aspen is a 54-hole stroke play event at Aspen Golf Club. The field is made up of 81 top juniors from 17 states, Mexico, and Canada. The Boys Division is playing the course at 6,706 yards, while the Girls Division is playing from a distance of 5,826 yards.
The Junior All-Star at Aspen is one of 11 events in The Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which is specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 and presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into Open tournaments. Juniors are limited to a maximum combination of five AJGA Open and Junior All-Star Series events during a calendar year. The series concludes with the Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
Oraee's round was mistake free, combining six birdies with an eagle on the par-5 No. 15 for the all-time low round in the history of the par-72 event at Aspen Golf Club, breaking the previous tournament low of 2-under-par 70. His 8-under-par 64 Wednesday was not only his career tournament low, but it also bested his previous career round, a 6-under-par 66, which he posted Tuesday in the first round.
βThis course sets up well for me,β Oraee said. βI've been driving the ball really well, which has left me with wedges in on most holes, and my wedges are working pretty well for me, so I had a lot of short birdies on most holes, and my putting was a little better than yesterday.β
Chasing Oraee in the final round on Thursday will be Daniel De La Garza of Monterrey, Mexico, whose second-round 5-under-par 67 has him in second at 1-under-par 143, 13 shots back of Oraee. Cameron Harrell of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Thomas Lim of Moorpark, Calif., will also be hot on the chase of Oraee, as they sit in a tie for third at 1-over-par 145. Rounding out the top-five is Myles Miller of Wellington, Kan., with a 2-over-par 146 for the tournament.
Navarro, who started on No. 10 in the two-tee start, was steady all day, posting two sides of 1-under-par 35, with three birdies and one bogey on the day. Navarro's 2-under-par 70 was eight shots better than the previous day, which she credited to her improved putting in the second round.
βMy round was very good today,β Navarro said. βI made a lot of putts, and I birdied my first hole, so I knew it was going to be a good day.β
Navarro wasn't the only girl shooting below par in the Girls Division, as Lindsay McGetrick of Highlands Ranch, Colo., birdied her first and last holes to shoot a 1-under-par 71, propelling her into second place, four shots back of Navarro at 8-over-par 152 for the tournament. Allie Johnston of Castle Rock, Colo., and Xin Wang of Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., complete the top three in a tie for third at 9-over-par 153, heading into Thursday's final round.
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 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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.
Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, a full-time junior golf training and development program, enters its first year as an Official Partner of the AJGA. The partnership features an endowment of an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which will provide juniors access to national competitive golf opportunities.
Final-round tee times begin Thursday at 7:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Aspen Golf Club. For more information on the Junior All-Star at Aspen, contact Tournament Headquarters at (678) 617-2428.