FOUR SHARE FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT POLO GOLF JUNIOR CLASSIC
Chen takes sole possession of Girls Division at PGA National Resort & Spa
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Emiliano Grillo of Resistencia, Argentina, Tanner Kesterson of Plano, Texas, Oliver Schniederjans of Powder Springs, Ga., and Curtis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., share the lead after solid first-round play at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. All four high school juniors shot 5-under-par 67 on the Haig Course at PGA National Resort & Spa. Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., holds sole possession of the Girls Division after carding five birdies on the Champion course.
The Polo Golf Junior Classic, which has been conducted annually since 1978, marks the first tournament of the American Junior Golf Association's 2010 season. The 156-player invitation-only field is made up of 78 boys and 78 girls, ages 12-18, from 25 states and 11 foreign countries. Former champions include Stewart Cink (1989), Trevor Immelman (1995), Tiger Woods (1991), Paula Creamer (2002), Grace Park (1994, 1996) and Morgan Pressel (2004).
Sharing a first-round lead is familiar territory to Grillo, as he did the same in 2008's Polo Golf Junior Classic. Bringing in momentum after an October victory at The PING Invitational, fifth-ranked Grillo carded five birdies, including four on the back nine.
“I haven't changed my game at all from The PING Invitational,” Grillo said. “I just look to keep the ball in play and go low on the shorter course.”
Ranked No. 33 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Kesterson gave himself a good start with a birdie on No. 1. He carded five additional birdies to take his first invitational lead.
“This is my first year with the AJGA, so it means a lot to be competing with the best,” Kesterson said. “Stroke play is just the qualifier for this event so I just try to stay focused and make par.”
Schniederjans and Thompson, who played in the same pairing fed off of each other's success throughout the round.
“We had fun out there,” Thompson said. “We pushed each other and provided a no-stress round — I think we are both looking forward to another good one tomorrow.”
Anton Arboleda of La Canada, Calif., Niclas Carlsson of Enebyberg, Sweden, and Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind., all sit tied for fifth with 4-under-par 68.
In the Girls Division, Chen's successful approach shots set her up for short birdie putts throughout her round. She holds a one-stoke lead at 4-under-par 68.
“I haven't made a cut in a while so that was my goal for this tournament,” Chen said. “I had five birdie putts under 12 feet and was able to capitalize.”
Casey Grice of College Station, Texas, sits in second at 3-under-par 69, while Madelene Sagstrom of Enkoping, Sweden, Nicole Zhang of Calgary, Alberta, and Simin Feng of Orlando, Fla., all share third with 2-under-par 70.
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 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.
Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation (NYSE: RL) is a leader in the design, marketing and distribution of premium lifestyle products in four categories: apparel, home, accessories and fragrances. For more than 40 years, Polo's reputation and distinctive image have been consistently developed across an expanding number of products, brands and international markets. The Company's brand names, which include “Polo by Ralph Lauren”, “Ralph Lauren Purple Label”, “Ralph Lauren Collection”, “Black Label”, “Blue Label”, “Lauren by Ralph Lauren”, “Polo Jeans Co.”, “RRL”, “RLX”, “Rugby”, “Ralph Lauren Childrenswear”, “American Living”, “Chaps”, and “Club Monaco” among others, constitute one of the world's most widely recognized families of consumer brands.
Second-round play will continue Tuesday, with tee times running from 7:30-9:18 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees of the Champion and Haig Courses at PGA National Resort & Spa. For more information about the Polo Golf Junior Classic, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (561) 227-2501.