Edwards, Dai Capture AJGA Lead at WindStone
Pair lead for first time after first round at Evitt Foundation RTC Junior All-Star
RINGGOLD, Ga. — Eric Edwards of Salisbury, N.C., finished the first round of the Evitt Foundation RTC Junior All-Star at 2-under-par 68 Tuesday to take the Boys Divsion lead, while Rachel Dai of Suwanee, Ga., leads the Girls Division at even-par 70.
The Evitt Foundation RTC Junior All-Star is one of 10 events in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series. Specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15, the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into AJGA Open tournaments. The Series concludes with the Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Evitt Foundation RTC Junior All-Star is a 54-hole stroke play event held at the WindStone Golf Club. The tournament field features 75 boys and 24 girls from 21 states, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Canada. The Boys Division is playing the par-70 course at 6,347 yards and the Girls Division is playing at 5,679 yards.
Edwards' day began with a bogey on the first hole, but he closed the front side with a pair of birdies on holes 8 and 9 to make the turn at 2-under-par 33. His back nine was a steady even-par 35 as he finished the day with a one-shot lead, his first time leading an AJGA event.
Trailing Edwards by one are Andy Shim of Lawrenceville, Ga., William Martinez of Austin, Texas, and Ethan Wall of Brielle, N.J., at 1-under-par 69. Tied for fifth at even par are Greyson Sigg of Augusta, Ga., Adam Wood of Zionsville, Ind., and Christopher Guglielmo of Cumming, Ga.
Dai said her tee shots gave her a lot of confidence and helped lead to birdies on Nos. 8, 10, and 11.
“I hit a lot of fairways,” Dai said. “My approach shots on certain distances really got it close for me to make a guaranteed birdie.”
Leading for the first time in an AJGA tournament Dai said, “It makes me feel a little bit surprised but also happy because normally I don't lead. My focus tomorrow will just be to get the ball in the fairway and to not do anything more than two-putt.”
Sharing a 1-over-par 71 in the Girls Division are Lacie York of Kingsport, Tenn., Hee Wook Choi of San Diego, and Michaela Owen of Alpharetta, Ga.
GARY GILCHRIST GOLF ACADEMY, a full-time signature golf instruction program with campuses located in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla., and in Arroyo Grande, Calif., began as an Official Partner of the AJGA in 2009. The partnership features an endowment of an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which provides juniors ages 12-15 access to national competitive golf opportunities.
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 7:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. Wednesday off the No. 1 tee. For more information, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (770) 601-5196.