SIX TIED FOR LEAD AFTER DAY ONE AT VANDERBILT
Newell grabs first-round lead in Girls Division
Franklin, Tenn. — Zach Estep of Lawrenceville, Ga., Conner Pratt of Birmingham, Ala., Motin Yeung of Orlando, Fla., JD Tomlinson of Gainesville, Fla., Major Lee of Montgomery, Ala., and Sam Love of Trussville, Ala., each carded 1-under-par 70s for a six-way tie at the top of the leaderboard. In the Girls Division, A.J. Newell of Tampa, Fla., is in the lead after a 1-under-par 71 at the Vanderbilt Legends Club.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Southeast Junior Open is a 54-hole stroke play event held at the Vanderbilt Legends Club — South Course. The tournament field features 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 20 states and China. The Boys Division is playing the par-71 course at 7,059 yards, while the Girls Division is playing the layout at par-72, 6,020 yards.
In the Boys Division, Estep signed for nines of 34-36, highlighted by birdies at Nos. 1, 6 and 14.
“It's actually pretty tough out there,” Estep said. “You've got to be patient, especially with some of the pins out there today. You've just got to take them when you can get them.”
Pratt hung around even par all day before a birdie at No. 18 placed him in the red.
“I started out a little rough, my first bogey was on No. 3,” Pratt said. “I just tried to keep it around par before I made the turn. On the back nine, I played real solid. Overall, I played great and I putted well. The course is in great shape.”
Love worked his round under par with three birdies over his final seven holes, including one at the par-5 18th for a 1-under-par 70 to grab a share of the lead.
“I was kind of expecting the scores to be a little bit lower, but the wind picked up more than it has the last couple days and that made it a little tougher,” Love said. “I was pretty happy with 1-under.”
Lee recorded five birdies in his round, three of which came on the par-5 holes.
“The greens are good and I was putting pretty well,” Lee said. “In my practice round, I saw that it was pretty long. I knew if the wind started blowing it could get pretty tough. At the end, it got a little windy and I was having to club up.”
Despite recording a double bogey at No. 17, Yeung was still able to keep his round in red numbers with three birdies on the back nine, including one at his final hole.
Tomlinson carded five birdies against four bogeys, including a birdie at the 18th to push his round under par.
In the Girls Division, Newell's steady play led to 15 pars and two birdies against only one bogey. She carded a 1-under-par 34 on the front nine and an even-par 37 on the back en route to the only sub-par round in the Girls Division.
“I hit the ball about as well as I could,” Newell said. “I've been working on my putting a lot and it showed today. I liked the course setup. Some of the drives really suited my eye.”
Kendall Martindale of Jefferson City, Tenn., and Briana Mao of Folsom, Calif., are tied for second after even-par 72s.
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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and more than 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.
Second-round tee times for the AJGA Southeast Junior Open will run from 7:00 a.m. — 12:20 p.m. off the No. 1 tee at Vanderbilt Legends Club. For more information, please contact AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (678) 485-1135.