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Isleta Eagle Golf Course
Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 27-30, 2003

Blumenherst races to top of Girls Division

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. - On the strength of his second straight 4-under-par 68, Derek Tolan maintained his lead at the AJGA Southwestern Junior Classic on Thursday. Amanda Blumenherst fired a tournament low 6-under-par 66 to climb to the top of the Girls Division leaderboard.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Southwestern Junior Classic features 102 players from 20 states, Canada, Peru and Puerto Rico. The 54-hole tournament is being conducted at the par-72 Isleta Eagle Golf Course in Albuquerque on May 27-30.

Tolan, of Highlands Ranch, Colo., took advantage of optimum scoring conditions. He picked up birdies at Nos. 1, 3, 6 and 9 before closing his round well with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17. At 8-under-par, Tolan has recorded 11 birdies in the first two days of the tournament.

"I just see the greens really well," Tolan said. "I putt the greens really well. The course sets up good for me."
Thanks to the Boys Division best score of 67, Mitchell McCaughan, of Sumner, Wash., jumped from 15th into second place. Despite starting the day at 1-over-par, McCaughan improved to 4-under-par.

"Yesterday I didn't feel comfortable out there," McCaughan said. "I was too timid. I was kind of trying to steer the ball around the course. Today I just went after things and got a little more aggressive."

David McDaniel, of Tuscon, Ariz., who was tied for third after the first day, fired a 3-under-par 69 and played his way into Friday's final group. He ended his round with the shot of the day, burying his approach to the par-4 No. 18 for an eagle.

Blumenherst, who was tied for third after a first-round 73, rode her hot putter to a 32 on the front nine, carding four birdies on the first nine holes. Blumenherst punctuated her bogey-free day with birdies on Nos. 17 and 18. On the 370-yard No. 18, she put her approach shot within four feet then pumped her fist in celebration after sinking the putt.

"I definitely putted very well," Blumenherst said. "I didn't three putt once today and that helped quite a bit. Putting was definitely my improvement from yesterday."

Blumenherst, who finished in second place last week at the Thunderbird International Junior in Pheonix, Ariz., said 66 is a personal best score.

First-round leader Michaela Cavener continued her solid play, shooting an even-par 72, and trails Blumenherst by two strokes. Amie Cochran will complete the leader group on Friday, after shooting a 4-under-par 68. She is also two shots behind the lead.

Final-round play will begin Friday at 7 a.m. For more information on the AJGA Southwestern Junior Classic, please contact tournament headquarters at (505) 869-0950.