HOMA SITS ATOP FIRST-ROUND LEADERBOARD AT 2-UNDER-PAR
Dong and Villela tie for Girls Division lead after shooting 2-over-par 73s
DIABLO GRANDE, Calif. â€” Max Homa of Valencia, Calif., fired a first-round 2-under-par 70 to take the Boys Division lead at the Nike Golf Junior at Diablo Grande. Tiffany Dong of Sacramento, Calif., and Angela Villela of Pacoima, Calif., each shot 2-over-par 73s to tie for the first-round lead in the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior at Diablo Grande is being played at the Diablo Grande â€” Ranch Course. Seventy-five boys and 24 girls, ages 12 â€” 15, are competing on the par-72 layout (par-71 for girls). Thirteen states and three countries are represented this week, including players from South Korea and China, with most juniors from California.
The Nike Golf Junior at Diablo Grande is part of the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series. The Series is a collection of 10 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12 - 15 years old. The Series concludes with an invitation-only Nike Golf Junior Championship, Sept. 1 - 3, 2006.
Coming off a 10th-place finish at the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia Ranch, Homa hit 15 greens and only missed four fairways en route to his pace-setting 70.
â€śI hit my irons really good, and I didn't get in any trouble off the tee boxes,â€ť Homa said. â€śOnce you get in the fairway, you're in good shape.â€ť
Homa, who was swinging golf clubs as early as two years old, is trying not to get ahead of himself, but the 15-year-old would welcome a victory.
â€śIt'd be really great,â€ť Homa said. â€śI've been working to win at a higher level.â€ť
Benjamin Lein of Diamond Bar, Calif., Sam Smith of Turlock, Calif., and Boris Stantchev of Long Beach, Calif., all shot even-par 72s to tie for second place. Seven players sit in a tie for third after shooting 1-over-par 73s.
Dong only had 27 putts, including consecutive birdies on Nos. 6 and 7. The 15-year-old is keeping her mindset simple for tomorrow.
â€śI just want to have fun, play well, and learn something new about my competitors,â€ť Dong said.
Playing with Dong, Villela's goal was to remove as much pressure from her game as possible. She concentrated on positioning throughout her round.
â€śI put myself in good places and gave myself good opportunities for birdie,â€ť Villela said.
Ahnna Kim of Irvine, Calif., shot a 3-over-par 74 and is in third going into the second round.
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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA has a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
The second round of the Nike Golf Junior at Diablo Grande begins at 7 a.m. Wednesday at Diablo Grande â€” Ranch Course. For more information on the Nike Golf Junior at Diablo Grande, contact tournament headquarters at (209) 892-4136.