MURRAY AND MCGOWAN SHOOT 6-UNDER-PAR 65s TO LEAD GOLF PRIDE JUNIOR CLASSIC
Emrey holds the Girls Division lead at Pines Needles Lodge & Golf Club
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. — Local player Michael McGowan of Southern Pines, N.C., took advantage on his home course Tuesday, carding a 6-under-par 65 to tie for the lead at the Golf Pride Junior Classic. Grayson Murray of Raleigh, N.C., also went low to co-lead in the Boys Division, shooting 3-under-par on both nines. In the Girls Division, Allison Emrey of Charlotte, N.C., holds the lead at 2-under-par 69.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Golf Pride Junior Classic is a 54-hole stroke play event held at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina. The field features 75 boys and 23 girls, ages 12-18, from 19 states and China. The par-71 course is being played at 6,918 yards in the Boys Division and 6,090 yards in the Girls Division.
McGowan, who finished third in the event last year and is attending the University of North Carolina in the fall, had four birdies to put him at 4-under-par 31 heading into the turn. Three more birdies on the back nine and solid putting made for a successful first round.
“I've played pretty well here the past couple of years and today I just went out and made some putts,” McGowan said. “This is my last junior tournament and I would like to go out with a win on my home course. There are lots of good players out here so anything can happen.”
Murray started his round off on the right foot with an eagle on the first hole. The par-5s treated him well today as he made additional eagles on Nos. 10 and 15. He birdied No. 18 to finish strong.
“I hit a lot of greens today which took the pressure off my putting,” Murray said. “There were a lot of low scores today. I need to keep giving myself good opportunities. Each day will get tougher and whoever grinds it out there will come out with a win.”
One stroke off the lead in second is Ji Soo Park of Centreville, Va., at 5-under-par 66. Tied for fourth at 4-under-par 67 are Zach Edmondson of Morrisville, N.C., Joey Garber of Petoskey, Mich., and Jake Mondy of Blacksburg, Va.
Emrey showed strong putting and ball-striking skills all day to put her atop the leaderboard in the Girls Division. Four birdies including a final one on No. 18 helped her shoot 1-under-par on both nines.
“I played really consistent and made a lot of pressure putts, but also had some birdie opportunities that didn't drop,” Emrey said. “I knew I had to make a birdie on No. 18 to shoot a 69 so I stuck it close and made the putt. Tomorrow I need to stay in the fairway and continue to putt well.”
Sitting in a close second at 1-under-par 70 is Christina Miller of Bradenton, Fla. Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division is Ri Hyang Park of Bluffton, S.C., at even-par 71.
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.
Due to the high possibility of inclement weather, the second round will be an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club. For more information please contact Tournament Director Ryan Tahara 678-617-2427.
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