Johnson Maintains Lead at The Junior PLAYERS Championship
Grillo, Kennerly climb to second at TPC Sawgrass - THE PLAYERS Stadium Course
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Michael Johnson of Birmingham, Ala., shot even-par 72 Saturday to retain his first-round lead with a two-day total of 4-under-par 140. Sharing the second-place position is Emiliano Grillo of Bradenton, Fla., and Billy Kennerly of Alpharetta, Ga., who sit one shot back of Johnson.
In cooperation with the PGA TOUR, the American Junior Golf Association has brought 78 players, ages 12-18, from 20 states and 13 foreign countries to THE PLAYERS Stadium Course for a special junior golf experience. The Junior PLAYERS Championship is mirrored after THE PLAYERS, and the 7,215-yard, par-72 layout matches the set-up used at the PGA TOUR event. For the first time in The Junior PLAYERS Championship history, the 2010 champion will be given a sponsor's exemption to the Nationwide Tour's Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open Presented by Planters, which will be played Oct. 18-24 at TPC Sawgrass — Dye's Valley Course.
With two bogeys in his first four holes, Johnson had an inauspicious start to the day. It didn't take long to right his second-round ship, and with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6, he made the turn at even par.
“It (the round) didn't start out very well, ,” Johnson said. “I bogeyed No. 8, but then I chipped-in on No. 9, so that put a smile on my face.”
A steady back nine was the key to success for Johnson, who only deviated from par with a birdie on the par-5 16th and a bogey on No. 18. He will look to carry his steady play into the final round.
“I like to play steady golf, I don't like the roller coasters,” the Auburn commit said. “I haven't thought about being in the lead, I'm just trying to play my best.”
Grillo, who began the day in seventh, shot 3-under on the day to climb to second, while Kennerly posted a 1-under-par round to join Grillo. They will begin the final round at 3-under-par 141, one stroke behind Johnson.
Alone in fourth is Jordan Spieth of Dallas, who posted a two-day total of 2-under-par 142. In a three-way tie for fifth is Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind., Wyndham Clark of Greenwood Village, Colo., and Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y., each with a two-day total of 1-over-par 145. After a first-round 6-over-par 78, Rodgers climbed 37 spots up the leaderboard with a 5-under-par 67.
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.
Tee times for Sunday's final round will run from 8 — 9:48 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees of THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. For more information regarding The Junior PLAYERS Championship, contact Tournament Headquarters at (770) 601-8922.