AJGA BURGETT H. MOONEY,
JR. ROME CLASSIC
Coosa Country Club
August 14-17, 2003
SUCHER AND TODD SHARE LEAD AT 10-UNDER
PAR WITH 18 HOLES LEFT
Wright stretches Girls Division lead to five strokes at Coosa
ROME, Ga. -- Six hours separate the Alabama cities of Mobile and Florence, but there is no separation between Zack Sucher and Gator Todd with one round remaining in the AJGA Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic. The Alabama natives are tied for first place with two-day totals of 10-under-par 134. Heather Wright of Houston leads the Girls Division as she sits at 5-under-par 139.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic features 99 players from 13 states, including 39 Georgia natives. The eighth-annual tournament, being held at Coosa Country Club, consists of three 18-hole rounds.
Sucher, from Mobile, Ala., carded his second straight tournament round in the 60s Saturday-a career first for the 16-year-old. He posted a round of 4-under-par 68 to move to 10-under for the tournament. Sucher got his day rolling early as he made eagle on No. 2, a 505-yard par-5. He went on to shoot 3-under-par 33 on the front nine. He said his performance is the culmination of a summer of hard work.
"I've been playing pretty well lately so I want to keep it up," he said. "I've been close for a while. I've been hitting it really well this summer and, now, I've started scoring well."
Averaging 290 yards off the tee, Sucher employs an aggressive strategy that led to an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys in the second round. He admitted that Coosa Country Club sets up well for his game and the occasional errant shot.
"I'm good at recovering," he said. "I was in the trees a few times and still managed to make pars. You can hit a bad shot and get away with it here. This course is good for my aggressive style."
Todd, from Florence, Ala., turned in the best 18-hole performance of the tournament Saturday with a bogey-free round of 8-under-par 64. Like Sucher, he also got off to a sizzling start as he made birdies on five of the first six holes. The key to his hot start was his putter, he noted.
"The putts went in today," the 17-year-old said. "The main key was my putting and the par-5s. I've had a good summer, except for my putting-and this shows what I can do when my putts go in."
Playing in just his fifth AJGA event, Todd has never finished better than 21st place as he did at Coosa in 2002. He said he is looking forward to a showdown with Sucher in Sunday's final round.
"I know Zack pretty well-from state golf tournaments," Todd said. "He's a good player and it'll be fun to play with him. I know I'm going to have to shoot a good score to win."
Trailing the pair of leaders in third is 17-year-old Brandon Burris of White House, Tenn. He shot 68 Saturday to stand at 6-under-par 138 after 36 holes. Tim Schaetzel of Atlanta and William Wilcox of Pell City, Ala., round out the top five at 5-under-par 139.
In the Girls Division, Heather Wright moved to 5-under par 139 for the tournament as she posted a second-round 69. Wright has never won an AJGA tournament, but tied for first at the 2002 AJGA Abilene Reporter-News Junior before falling in a playoff.
"It feels really good to finally be playing the way I feel like I should be playing," Wright said. "If I just keep it at 72 or better tomorrow, I feel like I'll have a good chance of winning."
The 18-year-old Wright missed only one fairway and did not make any bogeys Saturday as she widened her lead to five strokes over second-place Sharla Cloutier of Niceville, Fla., who stands at even-par 144. Christie Reed of Coral Springs, Fla., is in third at 2-over-par 146.
Play was slowed Saturday by two lightning delays totaling 2 hours and 58 minutes.
Final-round action gets underway Sunday with a 9 a.m. shotgun start at Coosa Country Club. For more information on the AJGA Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic, contact tournament headquarters at (706) 234-2200.