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Colonial Country Club
Jackson, Mississippi
June 30-July 3, 2003

Three 76s tied for Girls Division lead

JACKSON, Miss. - Martin Bunt, Philip Francis, Paul Haley and Kevin O'Connell all fired a 3-under-par 69 to tie for the lead in the Boys Division after Tuesday's first round of the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Colonial presented by Mississippi Farm Bureau.

In the Girls Division, Tia Gannon of Hilton Head Island, S. C., Brittany Nelson of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and Alexandrea Schulte of Broken Arrow, Okla., posted matching scores of 4-over-par 76 to claim a share of the lead.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Colonial presented by Mississippi Farm Bureau consists of 84 players from 26 states. The tournament is being contested at Colonial Country Club, which plays to 6,578 yards for the boys 5,790 yards for the girls.

Bunt, a native of Pensacola, Fla., came out of the box swinging. He birdied the first three holes and four of his first five. Bunt finished with a 3-under-par 33 on the front nine and shot an even-par 36 on the back, including a birdie on No. 10.

"I was hitting my woods good (Tuesday) and keeping it in the fairway," Bunt said. "I could improve on some of my putting, especially my 10-20 footers."

Francis of Scottsdale, Ariz., also had his game working on the front nine. He carded a bogey-free 2-under-par 34. Francis continued his solid play on the back nine with a 1-under-par 35.

"I'm a pretty good ball striker," Francis said. "If I set myself up for my second shot in the center of the fairway, usually it'll come through well."

Haley of Dallas, only needed 11 putts on his first nine, the back nine, en route a 3-under-par 33. He recorded birdies on Nos. 10, 13, 17 and 18. Though his putter cooled down in the second half of his round, he still turned in an even-par 36, on his second nine.

"You have to be in the fairway because trees line every hole," Haley said. "But you have to take advantage of the par-5s and all the short par-4s, the ones under 350 (yards)."

O'Connell, a native of Raleigh, N.C., also started off quickly. After paring the first three holes, he birdied the fourth through the sixth. O'Connell, who scored a 3-under-par 33 on the front nine, made only one bogey in his round.

"I've got to keep driving the ball well," O'Connell said. "I have to make my par putts because you are going to miss some greens."

Bradley Nelligan of Tulsa, Okla., and Raj Nahal of Longwood, Fla., are the two other players who are under-par after the first round. They are two shots off the pace at 1-under-par 71.

In the Girls Division, Gannon didn't make many mistakes in her round. Despite consecutive bogeys on the first and the second to begin her second nine, Gannon fired a 2-over-par 38 on both sides of the course. She recorded a birdie on the par-4 sixth.

"I'm going to have to play solid and aim at shooting par," Gannon said about what she needs to do to stay in the lead.

Nelson, who began on No. 10, recovered from a tough start to join the leaders at 4-over-par. She bogeyed the 10th through the 12th en route to a 4-over-par 40. However, she picked up an even-par 36 on her second nine, including two birdies. She said putting and chipping would be the key to continued success in the

"The greens are so small," Nelson said. "You're going to have a lot of chips and a lot of putts, and you have to make a lot of them."

Schulte, who played alongside Nelson, shot a 3-over-par 39 on her first nine holes, and as a result of two bogeys and a birdie on her second nine, she finished 4-over-par for the day.

"I was not depressed because of the way I was playing," Schulte said. "I've got two more days ahead of me."

Tournament play will continue at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Tee times will continue on No. 1 and No. 10 until 9:27 a.m. For more information on the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Colonial presented by Mississippi Farm Bureau, contact AJGA tournament headquarters at (601) 956-8567.