Abacoa Golf Club
Jupiter, Florida
July 15-18, 2002

Koch, Erasmus lead heading into final round

JUPITER, Fla. - Greg Koch of Orlando, Fla., fired a 2-under-par 70 Wednesday to stake claim to a one-shot lead in the Boys Division after the second round of the AJGA hp Junior Championship at Abacoa. In the Girls Division, Charmaine Erasmus of Bradenton, Fla., owns a two-stroke lead after posting a 70.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA hp Junior Championship at Abacoa is being held at the par-72 Abacoa Golf Club and features 84 of the top junior golfers in the country, representing 16 states, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. The field also features 59 Florida natives.

Koch, who was tied for second after the first round with a 69, stormed out of the gates with five consecutive birdies to move to 5-under-par through six holes. After a double bogey on No. 7 and a bogey on No. 8, the 17-year-old recovered nicely with his sixth birdie on No. 9 to make the turn at 3-under-par 33. Koch opened the back nine with another birdie on No. 10 en route to a two-day total of 69-70--139.

"I don't think I really played that well today," said Koch, who is playing in his first AJGA event. "After the front nine, I figured if I could keep it going and get some birdies on the back nine, I would be all right. But it's been my putting that has been key this week so far. If you hit a lot of greens and make your putts, you're going to shoot low."

Koch holds a one-shot advantage over first-round leader Song Jeon of Ocala, Fla. Jeon, who fired a career-low 66 in Tuesday's first round, followed up that performance with a steady round of 2-over-par 74 that included 10 pars and three birdies.

"I really didn't play well on the front nine," Jeon said about his string of three bogeys. "But overall, it wasn't too bad and I'll take it. I was chipping pretty well today, so that helped out a lot."

Florida natives Brad Doster of Winter Park and Giwon Suh of Orlando are tied for third at 142, while Derek Fathauer of Jensen Beach, Fla., and Garrett Runion of Windermere, Fla., round out the top five at 143.

Erasmus, who was co-medalist in Sunday's qualifier, was 1-under-par on the front nine with a birdie on No. 11 before stringing together three consecutive birdies on Nos. 2, 3, and 4 to finish at 71-70--141.

"My short game was very good today," Erasmus said. "I'm very happy with my round and tomorrow I hope to just stick with what I've been doing."

Nicole Hage of Coral Springs, Fla., who was tied with Erasmus after the first round, trails by two shots after carding rounds of 71-72--143.

Defending champion Mallory Hetzel of Summerville, S.C., and Lisa Tyler of Lighthouse Point, Fla., are tied for third at 146.

The 54-hole event concludes tomorrow, July 18, with final-round tee times beginning at 7 a.m. off the No. 1 and 10 tees at Abacoa Golf Club.

For more information on the AJGA hp Junior Championship at Abacoa, please call tournament headquarters at (561) 656-2601.


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