AJGA ASHWORTH POSTSEASON JUNIOR AT RANCHO
The Westin Mission Hills Resort, Gary Player Course
Rancho Mirage, California
September 12-14, 2003
TRIO OF CALIFORNIANS STAND IN FIRST AFTER ROUND ONE AT GARY PLAYER COURSE
Lieberman, Lipsky and Schumacher each shoot rounds of 3-under-par 69
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - David Lieberman, David Lipsky and Cody Schumacher each carded opening rounds of 3-under-par 69 Saturday to share the first-round lead at the AJGA Ashworth Postseason Junior at Rancho Mirage.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Ashworth Postseason Junior at Rancho Mirage features a field of 85 boys from eight states and Paraguay. Seventy-four juniors from California are competing at The Westin Mission Hills Resort's Gary Player Course. The AJGA Ashworth Preseason/Postseason Series, a boys-only series, is designed to provide more playing opportunities to juniors who have not yet played in an AJGA tournament. 2003 marks the fourth season of the AJGA Ashworth Preseason/Postseason Junior Series, with ten tournaments in eight states.
Lieberman, from nearby Palm Springs, Calif., is competing in his third national junior golf tournament and said the Gary Player Course sets up well for him.
"Everything is right there in front of you," Lieberman said. "You don't want to leave yourself in a bad position out there. It's easy to leave some shots short. Having a lot of discipline is really the key on this golf course."
Consistency led to Lieberman posting one of the day's five subpar rounds. The 17-year-old hit 17 fairways and 16 greens in regulation.
"It was a lot of consistency (that was the biggest factor in Saturday's round)," he said. "I only missed one fairway and two greens-and it's pretty hard to shoot high when you do that. I'm happy with that."
Lipsky, one of the co-leaders after 18 holes, made six birdies in his first appearance at an AJGA event. He said the significance of the event and the competition would not overwhelm him.
"I was pretty relaxed," the 15-year-old from La Cañada, Calif., said. "I've played in big tournaments before, but this is new because it's the AJGA. I think I can handle the pressure. Tomorrow, I'll try to play my own game and not let anybody else affect me."
Schumacher, 17, said the length of the 6,895-yard Gary Player Course served as an advantage for him. Sinking some key putts early helped Schumacher, who is also making his AJGA debut, to raise his level of confidence.
"I'm just going to try to hit fairways and greens (in Sunday's final round)," he said. "I'd love to make some early putts and get up a bit, then cruise in. Making putts today really boosted my confidence."
Dedication throughout the summer rewarded Schumacher as he hit the ball well in the opening round of his first career AJGA tournament.
"I hit my driver straight today," said the native of Riverside, Calif. "I've worked on hitting the ball a bit better and today I putted pretty good as well."
Rounding out the top five are Matthew Shaw of Clovis, Calif., and Dean Tonneslan of Fresno, Calif. Both shot 1-under-par 71s Saturday.
The final round of the AJGA Ashworth Postseason Junior at Rancho Mirage is Sunday with tee times beginning at 7 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at the Gary Player Course. For more information on the event, contact tournament headquarters at (760) 770-2908.