BURGER LEADS BOYS DIVISION AT HERITAGE JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Burnett and Ernst sit atop Girls' leaderboard at Hampton Hall Club
BLUFFON, S.C. — Jacob Burger of Orangeburg, S.C., is in the top spot at the Heritage Junior Championship after shooting a 7-under-par 65 in the first round Wednesday. In the Girls Division, Austin Ernst of Seneca, S.C., and Katie Burnett of Brunswick, Ga., are tied for the lead at 1-under-par 71.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Heritage Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Hampton Hall Club. The 84-player field features juniors from 15 states. The course is being played at 7,180 yards in the Boys Division and 6,090 yards in the Girls Division.
Burger, 17, made seven birdies in the first round to tie the course record. He said his ball striking and putting has been solid this summer and felt that solid mid-iron play on this course is the key to scoring well.
“I feel comfortable on this golf course, and I feel comfortable with my game,” Burger said. “I was leaving myself in the right places today to shoot the right number.”
He continued, “I didn't see myself coming in and making a 65. My goal was to win. That's my goal at every tournament, but after playing well in the Junior-Am, I felt pretty good about my game.”
Robert Burrow of Charlotte, N.C., recorded a 4-under-par 68 to take hold of second place. Dean Hester of Dublin, Ga., Matt Campbell of Rome, N.Y., Will Murphy of Columbia, S.C., and Lance Johnson of North Augusta, S.C., are in a four-way tie for third place at 3-under-par 69.
In the Girls Division, Ernst, 15, winner of both the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic and the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic this year, began her round with a double bogey on No. 1. She made a quick turnaround with a birdie on No. 2 and shot 1-under-par on the rest of the front nine. She made two more birdies on the back nine and said her iron shots and ball striking were the strong points of her game.
“I think today was a pretty easy 71 because I hit the ball so well,” Ernst said. “Even with a double bogey I could have gone lower.”
Burnett, 17, failed to qualify for this event last year but returned this year for another shot. She made a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 6, another on No. 11 and one more 20-footer for birdie on No. 13. Despite a double bogey on No. 15, she parred the remaining holes on the back nine to finish strong.
“I definitely want to win this tournament,” Burnett said. “I've been working on putting and my short wedge shots. Most of the time I three-putt at least twice, but I didn't have one today.”
Rebecca Durham of St. Simons Island, Ga., shot an even-par 72 to finish the day in third place.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
Second-round tee times will start at 7:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees. For more information about the Heritage Junior Championship, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (843) 706-5670.