THOMAS JUMPS IN FRONT WITH A 5-UNDER-PAR 65 TO TAKE LEAD IN ASHLAND
Talley maintains her demanding lead at Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior
ASHLAND, Ky. — Now a popular name among Kentucky golfers due to a huge victory last week at the FootJoy Invitational, Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., fired a 5-under-par 65 Thursday to claim the Boys Division lead heading into Friday's final round at the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior. Still leading the Girls Division is Emma Talley, of Princeton, Ky., after carding a 5-over-par 75.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event held at Bellefonte Country Club in Ashland, Ky. The field features 90 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, from 20 states, Canada and Taiwan. The par-70 course is played at 6,034 yards in the Boys Division and 5,627 yards in the Girls Division.
Thomas started off his round with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, then played the back nine four under par with birdies coming on Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 17. Thomas' two-day total of 134 is good enough to give him a 3-stroke lead with one round to go.
“I missed three putts within 10 feet on the front nine and I caught on fire on the back, I made putts when I needed to,” Thomas said. “I hit a couple drives off line but tomorrow I need to keep it in the right places on the fairways.”
In a three-way tie for second at 3-under-par 137 are Andrew Cho of Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., Jared Flanery of Sandy Hook, Ky., and Tyler Smith of Brentwood, Tenn. Sitting in fifth at 138 is Lexington, Ky., native Hager Collins.
Talley has continued her lead with a 5-over-par 75 on Thursday and is currently three strokes ahead of the field in the Girls Division with a two-day total of 143. She was battling all day against stray tee shots and was then stuck scrambling for par on many occasions.
“I was everywhere on the course, everything was a little off today,” Talley said. “I made a double bogey on No. 14 and doubles are hard to make up. I've played well the last four weeks now and hopefully I can stay on that train.”
Tied for second at 6-over-par 146s are Allison Emrey of Charlotte, N.C., and Kendall Martindale of Jefferson City, Tenn., after each carded a 72 and 71, respectively.
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 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 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.
Final round tee times for the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior will run from 7 a.m. — 1 p.m. off the No. 1 tee Friday, June 19. For more information contact Tournament Headquarters at 606-326-1741.