Three Share Lead After First-Round Play at TPC Sawgrass
Echavarria, Liu, Stimble card 3-under 69s at The Junior PLAYERS Championship
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — After the first round of play on The PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, Nicolas Echavarria of Medellin, Colombia, Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., and Donald Stimble of Shell Knob, Mo., share the top spot among some of the best junior golfers in the world after each carded rounds of 3-under-par 69. They hold a two-shot lead going into Saturday's second round, which will be held on Dye's Valley Course.
In cooperation with the PGA TOUR, the American Junior Golf Association has brought 78 players, ages 12-18, from 21 states and 15 foreign countries to TPC Sawgrass for a special junior golf experience. The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf 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 second straight year, 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. 17-23 at TPC Sawgrass — Dye's Valley Course.
Stimble, who is searching for his second AJGA title, carded six birdies on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course.
“It's an honor to be here and play the same course the pros do,” Stimble said. “I'm just trying to stick to my game and do the best I can.”
Participating in his second Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf, Echavarria had to scramble after a few stray tee shots. He capitalized with birdies on each of the par-5s en route to a share of the lead, a much different start compared to his first-round 81 in 2010.
“My iron play was pretty solid but my driver struggled,” Echavarria said. “I'm hoping to hit it straighter tomorrow on the Valley Course.”
Liu was the last to come in and returned a colorful scorecard that included six birdies, five bogeys and an eagle. The 2010 U.S. Junior Amateur champion hit his 5-wood to the green, and then made his five-foot eagle putt on the 558-yard 11th hole.
“I started off well and was two-under through three holes after two great putts,” Liu said. “I turned at even and started birdie-eagle on the back nine but I gave it back with two bogeys. It was a rollercoaster out there but I'm happy to come in at three-under.”
Four juniors sit two shots back after 18 holes of play, including 2011 Thunderbird International Junior champion Brad Dalke of McKinney, Texas. Joining him are Matt Gilchrest of Southlake, Texas, and international participants Gavin Moynihan of Maynooth, Ireland, and Robin Goger of Neudauberg, Austria.
Tee times for Saturday's second round will run from 8 — 10 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees of the Dye's Valley Course at TPC Sawgrass. For more information regarding The Junior PLAYERS Championship presented by TaylorMade-adidas Golf, contact Tournament Headquarters at (770) 601-8922.
About the PGA TOUR
The PGA TOUR is the world's premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 100 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour.
The PGA TOUR's mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players. In 2011, the three Tours collectively have tournaments in 29 states and in 12 countries and territories outside of the United States. PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to approximately 500 million households in 224 countries and territories in 29 languages.
Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2010, tournaments on the three Tours generated more than $120 million for local charitable organizations, bringing the TOUR's all-time total of charitable contributions to more than $1.6 billion. The PGA TOUR's web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
About TPC Sawgrass
TPC Sawgrass opened in 1980 as the first Tournament Players Club, conceived by then-PGA TOUR Commissioner Deane Beman to provide a TOUR-owned, world-class tournament facility that would offer fans the ultimate viewing experience, as well as give golfers an opportunity to play where the pros play. It became the permanent home of THE PLAYERS Championship in 1982, and today is recognized as one of the great venues in championship golf. THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, designed by Pete Dye, annually is ranked among the world's top golf courses. Dye's Valley, designed by Dye in collaboration with Jerry Pate and Bobby Weed, opened in 1987.
TPC Sawgrass underwent a major year-long renovation that was completed in November 2006. In addition to the installation of a state-of-the-art drainage and irrigation system on THE PLAYERS Stadium Course, an elegant 77,000 square-foot Mediterranean Revival-style clubhouse was built to accommodate the growing needs and stature of THE PLAYERS, as well as those of a world-class resort. TPC Sawgrass also features the state-of-the-art TOUR Academy teaching facility, which opened in 2007. For more information, please visit www.tpc.com/sawgrass.
About TaylorMade Golf Company, Inc. dba TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company
TaylorMade Golf has led the golf industry's technological revolution since the company was founded in 1979. TaylorMade metalwoods, irons and putters have been used to win hundreds of professional golf tournaments around the world. In 1998, TaylorMade became a wholly owned subsidiary of the adidas Group. adidas Golf creates high-performance, technology-infused golf apparel and footwear worn by hundreds of professional golfers around the world. Ashworth, which became a brand of the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company in 2008, creates relaxed, lifestyle-oriented golf apparel synonymous with authenticity and quality. Learn more about TaylorMade-adidas Golf and its brands at (866) 530-TMAG (8624) or www.taylormadegolf.com, www.adidasgolf.com, www.ashworthgolf.com, and www.tmag.com.
About the adidas Group
The adidas Group is one of the global leaders within the sporting goods industry offering a broad range of products across the three core brands adidas, Reebok and TaylorMade-adidas Golf. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, the Group has more than 39,000 employees and generated sales of EUR 11.990 billion in 2010.
About the AJGA
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 more than 40 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, 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 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.