Kang, Paolucci Lead After First Round at FootJoy Invitational
Two USC Commits Lead by One at Sedgefield Country Club
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Future college teammates Jeffrey Kang of Fullerton, Calif., and Anthony Paolucci of Del Mar, Calif., finished the first round of the FootJoy Invitational at 5-under-par 65. Five players are tied for third, and enter Wednesday's second round just one shot shy of the lead.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the FootJoy Invitational is a 72-hole stroke play event held at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. The 98-player field features golfers from 25 states, Chile, Japan and Mexico. The field includes 25 players who have already signed National Letters of Intent as well as 24 Rolex Junior All-Americans. Home of the PGA TOUR's Wyndham Championship, the par-70 course is being played at 7,116 yards. Past champions of the event include Justin Thomas, Cameron Peck, Andrew Yun and Peter Uihlein.
Kang, who last competed in the FootJoy Invitational three years ago, tied for 21st at his first AJGA Invitational. But Kang said this year has been quite different, given that he finished his first round with six birdies and that he badly wants a win in his final AJGA event.
“It's kind of like a college field you'll see in a couple years,” said Kang, who is ranked No. 12 in the Polo Golf Rankings. “This is pretty much where I started playing Invitationals, so I'd like to end it with a win.”
Paolucci, who recently won the Thunderbird International Junior at Grayhawk Golf Club, is a veteran to the tournament, tying for second in 2009 and tying for 10th in 2008.
“After that win, you can't look back at the end of the summer and say you had a bad summer because you won Thunderbird,” Paolucci said. “But at the same time, you want to win more tournaments.”
Ranked No. 4 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Paolucci is looking for another Invitational win and is well on his way after carding five birdies in the first round.
“I left the ball where you're supposed to leave it and had a couple putts that I had last year and made a couple of those,” Paolucci said. “I was very comfortable because there were no surprises out there.”
Following the leaders by one stroke are Shun Yat Hak of Lake Mary, Fla., Chad Cox of Charlotte, N.C., Matthew Mabrey of Little Rock, Ark., Denny McCarthy of Burtonsville, Md., and Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas. They are tied for third at 4-under-par 66.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Second round tee-times will run from 7:00 a.m. — 12:20 p.m., off the No. 1 tee at Sedgefield Country Club. For more information about the FootJoy Invitational contact Tournament Headquarters at (336) 218-0077.