GRAHAM AND UIHLEIN 1-UNDER-PAR TO LEAD BOYS DIVISION AT ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Ellenbogen shoots 2-under-par 69 to take Girls Division lead after second round
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Wesley Graham of Port Orange, Fla., and Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., shot 1-under-par 70s in the second round to take control of the Boys Division at the Rolex Tournament of Champions Wednesday. Courtney Ellenbogen of Blacksburg, Va., moved into first place in the Girls Division after recording a two-day total 1-under-par 141.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a 72-hole stroke play event being held at The Ohio State University Golf Club — Scarlet Course. The 143-player field features players from 31 states and seven countries. The par-71 course is being played at 7,346 yards in the Boys Division and 6,188 yards in the Girls Division. This year marks the 30th edition of the AJGA's flagship tournament. Past champions of this event include Esther Choe, Philip Francis, Charles Howell III, Jamie Lovemark, Phil Michelson, Grace Park and Morgan Pressel.
On No. 9, Graham hit his approach shot to 10 feet and made the birdie putt, which gave him momentum for the rest of the round. He has already placed in the top ten in two events this year and said he thought he was hitting the ball well coming into the tournament.
“This is right where I wanted to be. I knew I had a good chance to contend coming in,” Graham said. “I want to come out and do the same thing tomorrow.”
Uihlein, fresh off a win at the FootJoy Boys Invitational in June, birdied two of his last three holes to put himself into a tie at 1-under-par 141. He said the Scarlet Course was in great condition and set up excellent.
“It is a major this week. The leaders should be around even-par or 1-under-par,” Uihlein said. “A course like this takes the 63s out of the equation. I would be happy with 18 pars out there.”
Luke Guthrie of Quincy, Ill., sits at even-par 142, one shot back. In fourth place there is a four-way tie at 1-over-par 143. The group includes Alex Shi Yup Kim of Fullerton, Calif., Nick Delio of Valencia, Calif., Jonathan Randolph of Brandon, Miss., and William Kropp of Edmond, Okla.
In the Girls Division, Ellenbogen played a bogey-free second round en route to overtaking the top spot on the leaderboard. She felt her iron play was better today, which resulted in hitting 17 greens throughout the round. Ellenbogen said she also made the putts she needed to.
“I had a consistent, solid round today,” Ellenbogen said. “If I can continue what I'm doing and make a few more putts hopefully everything will come together in the next two days.”
Ellenbogen, who last week played in the U.S. Women's Open, was paired with first-round leader Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., during the first and second round.
“Playing with people like that forces you to step up your game and play better,” Ellenbogen said.
Park remains in contention and sits one stroke back at even-par 142. Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., and Natalie Sheary of West Hartford, Conn., are tied for third in the Girls Division with 144 two-day totals.
The tournament field was cut to the low 42 players and ties in the Boys Division and the low 33 players and ties in the Girls Division.
Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Tournament of Champions, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 25 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989.
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.
Third-round tee times at the Rolex Tournament of Champions will begin at 7 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10 tees. For more information on the Rolex Tournament of Champions, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (614) 326-7376.