Grillo, Thompson Claim Co-Medalist Honors In Boys Division at Polo Golf Junior Classic
Zhang tops Girls Division by three shots at PGA National Resort & Spa
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — For the second year in a row Emiliano Grillo of Resistencia, Argentina, clamed co-medalist honors after stroke play at the Polo Golf Junior Classic. Grillo shares the honor with Curtis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., after both ended at 5-under-par. In the Girls Division, Nicole Zhang of Calgary, Alberta, fired a 6-under-par 66 to take medalist honors Tuesday.
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 boys and 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).
Grillo, a first-team Rolex Junior All-American, earned one of the top spots in match play for the second year after carding nine birdies during the first two rounds. Grillo said his confidence is growing after a great year of play.
“I hit the ball well when I won The PING Invitational last month and I hit it well here, too,” Grillo said. “It feels good to be medalist and know my game is continuing to improve.”
Thompson, who has two victories in 2009, carded an even-par 71 Tuesday to earn the No. 1 seed in match play. With 52 putts in his two rounds, it's Thompson's short game that has kept him alive. Thompson will rely on his putter to advance through match play.
“Making match play was my goal because from there anyone can win,” Thompson said. “After you make match play, you set different goals from there.”
Niclas Carlsson of Enebyberg, Sweden, finished third at 4-under-par 139, while Theodore Lederhausen of Hinsdale, Ill., and Jay Hwang of San Diego, tied for fourth at 3-under-par 140.
After ending Monday's first round tied for third at 2-under-par, Zhang took advantage of the Haig Course's shorter layout that fits her game and ended the two days at 8-under-par.
“The Haig Course has a lot less water and is less intimidating; it allows for more iron shots,” Zhang said. “My tee shots were good. They put me in position for good iron shots and my putter was really on today.”
In her first trip to the Polo Golf Junior Classic, Zhang had a bogey-free round that included six birdies on the par-72 course and is looking forward to match play.
“I enjoy match play — more strategy is involved, it's more interesting and a lot more fun,” Zhang said.
Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla., fired a 4-under-par 68 in the second round to take sole possession of second place, while Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., earned the No. 3 seed in the Girls Division with a 2-under-par 142 tournament total.
First-round matches will begin Wednesday at 7:30 a.m., while second-round matches will begin around 12:30 p.m. The Girls Division will play its first-round matchs on the Haig Course, while all other Girls and Boys Division matches will be held on the Champion Course.
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 49 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.
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.
For more information about the Polo Golf Junior Classic, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (561) 227-2501.