ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Chateau Elan Resort, The Legends and Chateau Courses
July 6-11, 2003
URETA, SCHULTZ FIRE 68S
IN FIRST ROUND OF ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Dotson's strong round puts her at top of Girls Division
BRASELTON, Ga. -
Martin Ureta of Santiago, Chile, got hot down the stretch
and fired a 4-under-par 68 to card the low round at The Legends
in the first round of the AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions.
Despite recording a bogey on his first hole of the day, Kevin
Schultz of Richardson, Texas, recovered to shoot a 3-under-par
68, the top score on the Chateau Course.
In the Girls Division, Elizabeth Dotson of White Bluff, Tenn., recorded a 2-under-par 69 on the Chateau Course to take a one-shot lead on the field.
The 72-hole stroke play event, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 169 juniors, including 51 Polo Golf Junior All-Americans, ages 13-18, from 33 states and four foreign countries. The event is being held at the Chateau Elan Resort, The Legends and Chateau Courses. Play will take place on The Legends and Chateau Courses during the first two rounds, and the final two rounds will be contested at the Legends Course after a 36-hole cut.
The AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions is the longest-running event on the AJGA schedule, now going into its 26th year. Past champions of the event include David Duval, Charles Howell III, Phil Mickelson, Beth Bauer and Grace Park.
Ureta flirted with a score of 29 on the front nine, his second nine, of The Legends. Needing to par his two remaining holes, he bogeyed No. 8 and made par on No. 9. Ureta finished with a 5-under-par 31 on his second nine.
"I hit a real poor shot, a flop-shot on No. 16, and said, 'That was it. Get back to your routine and keep it going,'" Ureta said. "And I turned it around."
After a 1-over-par 37 on the back nine, Ureta said he refocused, hit an excellent drive on the first hole and turned his day around. With a refreshed viewpoint, Ureta picked up consecutive birdies on the first through the fifth holes and added another on the seventh.
"The turning point was No. 1, definitely," Ureta said.
Schultz stumbled as he opened his day on the Chateau Course, bogeying the par-4 first, but he kept his round within his control. A birdie on the fourth got him to even-par, and he added two more birdies en route to a 2-under-par 34 on the front nine.
"Being at the top of the leaderboard is a lot better than being at the bottom, but it's not that big of a shock," Schultz said. "I knew I was good enough to compete. I just had to prove to myself that I could compete at this level. It's important to get over that intimidation."
Schultz, who in June finished third at the AJGA OSSO Junior at Oak Tree, maintained his consistent play on the back nine as well, recording a 1-under-par 34 for a 3-under-par 68 total score.
With a score of 68, Schultz and Ureta sit in a first-place tie. Four players put themselves in third place after the first round. Song Jeon of Ocala, Fla., and Brian Harman of Savannah, Ga., who won the first two AJGA majors of 2003, the AJGA Thunderbird International Junior and the Chrysler AJGA Boys Junior, shot a score of 69 on The Legends. Brendon Todd of Cary, N.C., and Jesse Barnsley of Albuquerque, N.M., fired 69s on the Chateau Course.
In the Girls Division, which played on the Chateau Course, Dotson turned in a bogey-free front nine, including a birdie on the 344-yard first. She also picked up birdies on the 15th and 17th. Her only blemish on the day came on the difficult 13th hole.
"My short game was really good," Dotson said. "I got up-and-down a lot and I made some putts. I was pretty confident all day."
Two players trail Dotson by one shot. In-Bee Park of Eustis, Fla., and Julieta Granada of Asuncion, Paraguay each fired rounds of 1-under-par 70.
Second-round tee-times will begin at 7:30 a.m. and conclude at 9:27 a.m. on Wednesday on the first and 10th tees of The Legends and Chateau Courses. Players will swap courses for the second round. For more information on the Rolex Tournament of Champions, call tournament headquarters at (678) 714-2560 .