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Toftrees Resort and Four Star Golf Club
State College, Pennsylvania
August 18-21, 2003

Sheary leads Girls Division with a two-round 154

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Jimmy Markovitz of Bridgeville, Pa., fired a 3-under-par 69 in the second round of the AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Toftrees Resort to lead the Boys Division at 141. Natalie Sheary of West Hartford, Conn., took control of the Girls Division after shooting a second straight 77.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 54-hole event is being held at the par-72 Toftrees Resort and Four Star Golf Club. The field features 89 players, ages 13-15, from 22 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. The field also includes 24 Pennsylvania residents.

The Junior All-Star Series was started by the AJGA in 1998 with Ty Tryon winning the inaugural event in Kissimmee, Fla. The series has since grown annually and continues to feature top juniors from around the country, ages 13-15. In 2003 the series expanded to seven events with a championship being held over Labor Day weekend near Nike's headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

Markovitz sat in third place Tuesday after shooting an even-par 72. He took the lead on Wednesday after making six birdies, two of which were on Nos. 1 and 2.

"I only missed two greens today," the 15-year-old said. "I didn't get up and down on either of them."

This is Markovitz's last event, unless he qualifies for the championship in Oregon later this month. The highest he has ever placed in an AJGA event was 15th last week at the AJGA Kroger Junior Invitational.

"I want to play well enough tomorrow to get into the top-three," he said. "I really want to go to Polo and Rolex next year so we'll see what happens."

Following close behind Markovitz with even-par 144s are Craig Cerbins of Portage, Wis., and Mu Hu of Bradenton, Fla.
Cerbins kept up with Markovitz until he bogeyed No. 10.

"Other than that hole I made quite a few putts, just like yesterday," Cerbins said. "I also did a good job of keeping the ball in the fairway."

Hu, on the other hand, wasn't quite as pleased with his second-round performance.

"Nothing was going right today," Hu said. "I need to be more aggressive. The thing is, I didn't make many mistakes; I just didn't play well."

Hu won the AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic in Ames in early June and is settling for no less this time around.

"I play well under pressure," he said. "Hopefully I can shoot in the 60s tomorrow and win."

Rounding out the top-five in the Boys Division are Peter Uihlein of North Dartmouth, Mass., with a 76-69-145 and Chris Rockwell of Owings Mills, Md., with a 76-73-149.

In the Girls Division, Sheary played consistent and came in three strokes ahead of her fellow competitors.

"My drives were a lot better today than it has been," Sheary said. "I pushed a few into the trees, but I was able to get them all back onto the greens."

Sheary credits a new-found confidence to her successful second round.

"I got a feel for the greens today," the 14-year-old said. "My putting was a lot better. I was also really nervous yesterday going off the first and second tees since it is my first AJGA event. I was still nervous today but I kept my drive in the fairway on both holes."

Sitting in second is Alina Lee of Bradenton, Fla., with a 157. Lee is also competing in her first AJGA event this week.

"The front nine went very well today," the 13-year-old said. "I played consistently with all pars and one birdie. The back nine didn't go as well though because the fairways are much more narrow. Those trees intimidate me."

Michelle Grilli of Lutherville, Md., rounds out the girl's top-three after carding a two-round total of 160.

Final-round tee times will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Toftrees Resort and Four Star Golf Club.

For more information on the AJGA Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Toftrees Resort contact tournament headquarters at (814) 238-6951.