Straka and Duan Have Solid Sub-70 Rounds at AJGA Sarasota Junior
Luo has first-round lead in Girls Division at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club
SARASOTA, Fla. — Sepp Straka of Valdosta, Ga., and Chenxiao Duan of Bradenton, Fla., both shot 5-under-par 67s to lead by three strokes after the first round of the AJGA Sarasota Junior. Linda Luo of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., carded a 4-under-par 68 to top the Girls Division.
The AJGA Sarasota Junior is a 54-hole tournament conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club. The event features 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18, from 11 states, China, Argentina, Paraguay, Columbia, Chile, Brazil, South Africa and the Philippines. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 7,009 yards while the Girls Division is playing the course at 6,050 yards.
Straka, who has given a verbal commitment to the University of Georgia, played aggressive and was able to be efficient with his ball striking.
“I only missed one green today,” Straka said. “This is the first time I have played this course and it suits me well. It is a wide open course and if you miss off the tee you can still do fine.”
Duan got off to a hot start and was able to capitalize on great short game play. Duan was able to make birdie on nine holes.
“I pulled to within one foot for eagle on No. 1 today and I knew it was going to be a good day, especially after I hit four birdies in a row after I bogeyed No. 3.”
Also atop the Boys Division are Shugo Imahira of Bradenton, Fla., and Cristobal Del Solar of Viña del Mar, Chile, who are tied for third with 2-under par 70s. In a tie for fifth place, carding 1-under-par 71s are Maxime Blandin of North Palm Beach, Fla., Robert De Biase of North Miami, Fla., Nicholas Torrance of East Lyme, Conn., and Zach Botts of Jonesborough, Tenn.
In the Girls Division, Luo of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., made strong putts throughout the round to finish a shot above the rest of the girls field.
“I got sick on No. 11, but my coach and parents were there to help cheer me up,” Luo said. “I knew at that point that I needed to finish strong. I made five strong putts that were at least 15 feet.”
Rounding out the Girls Division are Ashlan Ramsey of Bradenton, Fla., who shot a 3-under-par 69 and Clara Teixeira of Rio de Janiero, Brazil who fired a 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 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.
Wednesday's second-round tee times for the AJGA Sarasota Junior will run from 7:30 am — 9:27 off of tee Nos. 1 and 10 at The Ritz Carlton Members Golf Club. For more information, please call Tournament Director Andrew Greenfield at (770) 601-8922.