Three's a Crowd at Charles Howell III Junior Championship
Home Sweet Home for Ramsey, Leads Girls Division at West Lake Country Club
AUGUSTA, Ga. — Zach Botts of Jonesborough, Tenn., Grant Houser of Holly Springs, N.C., and Trey Valentine of Melbourne, Fla., fired rounds of 3-under-par 69s in the first round of the Charles Howell III Junior Championship in West Lake Country Club. Taylor Ramsey of Bradenton, Fla., used five birdies and a 2-under-par back nine to end the day at 3-under-par 69.
The Charles Howell III Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke-play tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at West Lake Country Club. The field features 102 boys and 29 girls, ages 12-18, from 17 states and Columbia, Paraguay, New Zealand and Canada. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,828 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 6,089 yards.
Botts used some clutch putts on the back nine to make two back-to-back birdies. He made five birdies overall.
“I went out there and birdied Nos. 14 and 15,” Botts said. “I hit No. 15 from a few inches away, so that was nice.”
Valentine used his driver to get things going. He made three birdies on his front nine to stand at 3-under-par after nine holes.
“I hit every fairway, so that helped a lot,” Valentine said.
Houser only missed four greens all day, but was able to capitalize on his short game. He was able to make three birdies on his back nine.
“Even when I missed the green, or didn't get close as I'd like, I was still close,” Houser said. “I was just trying to make pars, birdies were a bonus.”
In the Boys Division, Austin Vick of Evans, Ga., and Buster Bruton of Dallas, Ga., are currently in fourth after carding 2-under-par 70s.
Ramsey is familiar with the West Lake Country Club course, with it being her former home course. She used that to her advantage during her round.
“I love coming back to West Lake, I love being with the members and all of the volunteers out here,” Ramsey said. “I definitely know the greens and was able to get up and down when I needed to. I was able to keep things consistent out there.”
Also atop the Girls Division is Ashlan Ramsey of Bradenton, Fla., who sits in second with a 1-under-par 71. In third are Jessica Hoang of North Augusta, S.C., and Michaela Owen of Alpharetta, Ga., each carding a 1-over-par 73.
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 provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
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. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Charles Howell III, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Thursday's second-round tee times for the Charles Howell III Junior Championship will run from 7:45 — 9:15 a.m. and 12:15 — 1:45 p.m. of Nos. 1 and 10 tees at West Lake Country Club. For more information, contact Tournament Director Courtney Jones at (678) 617-9406.