Trio Shares Lead at the Preseason Junior at Château Élan
Crutchfield sets pace in the Girls Division at Château Course
BRASELTON, Ga. — David Yowell of Marietta, Ga., and Zack Jaworski of Alpharetta, Ga., both of whom are making their first appearances in an American Junior Golf Association event, and Andy Shim of Lawrenceville, Ga., all carded 2-under-par 69s Sunday to share the lead after the first round of the Preseason Junior at Château Élan. In the Girls Division, Shane Crutchfield of St. Petersburg, Fla., leads by four shots after opening with a 2-over-par 73.
The Preseason Junior at Château Élan is a 36-hole tournament conducted by the AJGA at Château Élan in Braselton, Ga. The 96-player field consists of 78 boys and 18 girls from 17 states and the Philippines. The boys are playing the Château Course at 6,689 yards and the girls are playing at 5,888 yards.
The Preseason Junior at Château Élan is one of eight events held as part of the Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series. The Golf Academy of America Preseason Junior Series is a series designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet been accepted to an AJGA Open event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year.
Yowell wasted little time getting his round going in his AJGA debut as he quickly grabbed a birdie on the par-4 1st hole. Yowell then strung together 12 straight pars before snagging his second birdie of the day on the par-4 14th en route to a bogey-free opening round.
“I had a great time and I am looking forward to tomorrow,” Yowell said. “I am going to try and keep under par and keep high numbers away.”
One pairing after Yowell, Jaworski matched with a 69 of his own, carding three birdies and a bogey. Before Sunday, Jaworski said he had never shot in the 60s in a tournament, but now that it's out of the way, he will look to do much of the same in Monday's final round.
Shim, who tied for 11th in his AJGA debut in April at the Junior All-Star at Château Élan, was the third player in the trio to card a 69 as he tallied birdies on three of his first four holes. Bogeys at Nos. 17 and 18 brought his round to a halt but afterward Shim said those two holes wouldn't rattle his confidence.
“I'm just trying to make birdies and if I make bogeys, I won't worry about it,” Shim said.
Ben Reeves of Knoxville, Tenn., and Jake Tucker of Cullman, Ala., are tied for fourth at 1-under-par 70.
Crutchfield got her day going with two birdies on the front but a mid-round rain delay disrupted the momentum she built up early. Crutchfield made the turn at 3-over-par to finish with a 73, but was perfectly content to have her first-ever lead heading into the final round.
"I'm just going to go into it how I did today, focus on playing one hole at a time and shooting as low as I can,” Crutchfield said.
Kaila Tuccio of Windermere, Fla., Alexandra Farnsworth of Nashville, Tenn., and Amanda Smith of Canton, Ohio, are tied for second at 6-over-par 77.
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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.
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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.
The final round of the Preseason Junior at Château Élan will get underway Monday with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. For more information, please call the AJGA Tournament Director at 678-617-2427.