LODGE TOPS BOYS DIVISION WITH 2-UNDER-PAR 70 IN STATE COLLEGE
Brown, Plomaritis co-leaders after first round at the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Eric Lodge of Houston, scored a 36-34—70, putting him in the lead after the first round at the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees. Thirteen-year-olds Sarah Brown of Stewartsville, N.J., and Molly Plomaritis of Eden, N.C., share the lead at 3-over-par 75 with 36 holes to play in the tournament.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees is being held at the Toftrees Golf Resort & Conference Center. Ninety-four junior golfers from 18 states and Ontario, including 19 from Pennsylvania, are competing in the 54-hole stroke play event.
Lodge's highlight for the round was an eagle on the par-4 No. 16. He holed out from nearly 120 yards with his gap wedge.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was good,” he said. “It had so much spin on it. It hit seven or eight feet past the hole and came back in. I didn't have too many other spectacular shots. I was pretty consistent.”
Trailing Lodge by two strokes is Andrew Glassell of Clarksville, Tenn., while Sam Jandel of Dayton, Ohio, is third with a 1-over-par 73. Tied for fourth with 2-over-par 74s are Anthony Aloi of Plainsboro, N.J., Michael Kania of Haverford, Pa., and Simon Reyers of Kingston, Ontario.
Brown and Plomaritis lead the Girls Division by three strokes. Brown said she did not start the round how she would have liked — she had a double bogey on the first hole caused from one of two three-putts on the round.
To calm down, she said to herself, “OK Sarah, don't let it ruin your round.”
Her self-motivation worked. She birdied Nos. 2 and 7, with her only bogey on the front nine coming on the eighth hole. Brown finished her first nine holes 1-over-par, and played the back nine to a 2-over-par 38.
“It's a good day for me — consistent,” she said. “It gives me a bit of confidence for tomorrow.”
Playing in her first-ever AJGA tournament, Plomaritis said she was surprised at how well she played.
“I went out there thinking my goal was to shoot a 77, because it is a really long course and I wasn't getting any roll on my drives,” she said.
She ended the round with two birdies on Nos. 7 and 16, and 5 bogeys for a 38-37—75 finish. Heading into the second round, Polmaritis said she wants to try to keep her play on track.
“It's a three-day tournament,” she said. “I'm just glad I beat my goal. Tomorrow, I'll try and do the same things; the last day, I'll worry about winning.”
Finishing third in the Girls Division after the first round is Margaret Pentrack of Pittsburgh, Pa., with a 6-over-par 78.
In other action, Andrew Wyatt of Lake Forest, Ill., scored a hole-in-one on the par-3, 165-yard No. 3. He stuck a 6-iron less than 10 feet from the hole and rolled in. Wyatt scored a 76 on the round.
The Nike Golf Junior Series was created in 1998 to give younger AJGA members more opportunities to play competitive golf. This collection of events, designed for boys and girls ages 12 - 15, was a resounding success in its first year and it expanded to eight events in 2003. In 2005, there are 10 tournaments which feature three rounds of stroke play competition and a Day of Education organized by AJGA staff.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA, the largest Association of its kind, has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12 - 18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
Second-round tee times will begin off the No. 1 tee Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at the Toftrees Golf Resort & Conference Center. For more information on the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (814) 234-8000 and ask for the AJGA.