Paradise Point Golf Course - Gold Course
Camp Lejeune, N.C.
May 27-30, 2003

O'Connell, Rada shares Boys Division lead at 70

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.-- Vicki Yi of Athens, Ga., fired a career-low 68 on Wednesday to capture the early advantage in the Girls Division after the first-round of the second annual AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Jacksonville. The 54-hole event is being conducted on the par-71 Gold Course at Paradise Point Golf Club at Camp Lejeune. Kevin O'Connell from Raleigh, N.C., and Patrick Rada from Anderson, S.C., both carded 1-under-par 70 for the low scores in the Boys Division.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Jacksonville features 75 players with boys and girls, ages 13-15, representing 19 states, including 21 juniors from North Carolina.

Yi's score of three-under-par 68 is her career-best. Her previous low, 69, was carded last season.

"My goal was just to stay consistent," said 15-year-old Yi. "I was hitting my irons straight, this gave me a lot of confidence in hitting the ball. Tomorrow, I want to stay consistent, I don't want to do anything too heroic and play my game." "

Jacqui Concolino of Orlando, Fla., who recorded 1-under-par 70, trails Yi by just two strokes after the opening round.

"I was just trying to hit fairways and greens," said Concolino. "I felt I had a good ball striking day."

Rounding out the top five in the Girls Division with 2-over-par 73s are Cydney Clanton of Concord, N.C., and Mallory Blackwelder of Versailles, Ky.

In the Boys Division, O'Connell and Rada sit atop the leaderboard with a pair of 70s.

Reflecting on his round, the 15-year-old O'Connell said, "I birdied Nos. 13, 14 and 15. I just made sure not to get ahead of myself. My goals this week are to finish in the top-eight and qualify for the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Championship. I definitely feel like I have a good start."

Rada felt his round was helped by the wet conditions.

"It was a good day to go low. The greens were so soft, the ball could stop on a dime on the green. I want to play as well as I did today. If I play tomorrow like today, I will be pleased," said the 15-year-old.

Rounding out the top five in the Boys Division with an even round 71 are Matthew Loftus of Ridgefield, Conn., and Texas natives Ross Mizell of The Woodlands and Luis Lemus of Mission.

The winners from this week's event will receive two tournament exemptions into AJGA Open events and an invitation to the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series Championship in Portland, Ore. A top-eight finish for the boys and a top-three finish for the girls in any Nike Junior All-Star Classic Series event will receive an invitation to the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series Championship.

Second-round tee times will begin on Thursday, May 29 at 7:30 a.m. off the No. 1 and 10 tees at the Paradise Point Golf Club Gold Course.

For more information on the AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Jacksonville, contact tournament headquarters at (910) 451-2273.

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