KELLY TAKES LEAD AT LIONSGATE
Kobayashi tops Girls Division
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - John Kelly of
St. Louis carded a 67 Wednesday and leads the Boys Division
of the AJGA Lockton Kansas City Junior with an 8-under-par
136 through two rounds of action. Mayumi Kobayashi of Santa
Monica, Calif., remains in the lead of the Girls Division
after firing a round of 75 for a two-day total of 146.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Lockton Kansas City Junior is being held at the par-72 Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate and features a field of 68 boys and 18 girls from 21 states.
After shooting a first-round 69, Wednesday's 5-under-par 67 marks Kelly's best back-to-back performance as he leads the field for the first time is his AJGA career.
Kelly played well off the tee, hitting 12 of 14 fairways in regulation to set himself up for second-round success. The highlight of Kelly's day came with a birdie-streak on Nos. 4, 5 and 6 which set the tone for a low round. Kelly converted four more birdie putts on the back nine, marking seven birdies for the day, compared to two bogeys.
Kelly, a University of Missouri signee, says his strong-play in a recent U.S. Amateur Qualifier gave him confidence coming into the AJGA Lockton Kansas City Junior. Kelly shot a 1-over-par 145, leaving him just one stroke shy of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Championship.
With a commanding 5-stroke lead, Kelly looks to carry his lead into the final round and tag his first AJGA victory.
"I'm just going to stick to my game plan tomorrow," Kelly said. "Hopefully it will work like it has for the last two days."
Kyle Yonke of Lubbock, Texas, carded four birdies compared to only two bogeys en route to a 3-under-par 69. Yonke now stands in second place with a two-round total of 141. Yonke took it low on the back nine, rallying with five birdies on Nos. 10 thru 14. He finished with a 5-under-par 67 for a two-day total of 141. Yonke looks to improve on his best AJGA finish, 11th place at the 2003 AJGA OSSO Junior at Oak Tree.
"I'm going to try to get it," Yonke commented on the potential win. "I want to go for more birdies tomorrow and play consistently."
Paul Haley of Dallas stands in third with a tournament total of 1-under-par 143 after shooting 74 Wednesday. Todd Obergoenner of Cape Girardeau, Mo., KeeDae Lee of Plano, Texas, and Rui Takematsu of Rowland Heights, Calif., carded a 70, 71 and 76, respectively, for matching totals of 144 for the tournament and now stand tied for fourth place.
In the Girls Division, Kobayashi stands at 2-over-par for the tournament and currently holds a 3-stroke lead. Despite four bogeys and one double bogey, Kobayashi carded three birdies en route to a 3-over-par 75 finish.
"Overall, I played okay," commented Kobayashi. "It's nice to know I can make mistakes and still score well."
Kobayashi looks to improve on her best AJGA
finish, third place at the 2001 AJGA Marsico Funds Colorado
"These girls are good, so it feels good to be in the lead," Kobayashi said. "I'm just hoping to shoot well. I want to keep the ball in the fairway, get on the greens in regulation, and make putts. I need to play my game."
Mandi McConnell of Grand Blanc, Mich., and Ashley Freeman of Belleville, Ill., are currently tied for second place with a two-round total of 149.
"I think the greens were hard to hold today, it seems like everyone struggled with that," Freeman said of Wednesday's conditions. "I'm going to be more aggressive tomorrow. I want to go for the pins and make more birdies."
The final round of the AJGA Lockton Kansas City Junior begins Thursday with tee times starting at 8 a.m. off the first and 10th tees.
For more information about the AJGA Lockton Kansas City Junior, please call tournament headquarters at (913) 402-1000.