DEFENDING CHAMPION MCINERNEY TAKES FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT THE REFUGE GOLF CLUB
Kim holds one-shot lead in Girls Division at Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu
LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — AJ McInerney of Henderson, Nev., started where he left off last year, shooting a 6-under-par 66 to build a two-stroke lead in the first round of the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu Tuesday. In the Girls Division, Lauren Kim of Los Altos, Calif., shot a 1-under-par 71 to put her atop the leaderboard.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu features 52 boys and 14 girls — ages 12-15 — from 15 states and Canada. The Boys Division is playing the course at 6,801 yards, while the girls are playing the course at 5,935 yards.
Feeling confident with his putter, McInerney finished the round bogey-free and shot a 33 on both nines en route to his first-round lead. He decided not to partake in the practice round Monday in favor of working on changes to his swing.
“I didn't play in the practice round,” McInerney said. “I worked on changes I made to my swing a few days ago and felt confident with those changes.”
Coming into the tournament as the defending champion, McInerney felt he had a certain advantage over others but didn't overlook what needed to be accomplished.
“Having won this tournament before, it kind of gives you confidence knowing you can win,” the 14-year-old said. “But you still have to play good golf.”
Rounding out the top five for the Boys Division are Jordan Gilmore of Sparks, Nev., with a 4-under-par 68, Jason Roets of Hilton Head Island, S.C., with a 3-under-par 69 and Tom Lovelady of Birmingham, Ala., Michael Decker of Dallas, and Gregory Rochna of Houston, with 2-under-par 70s.
In the Girls Division, Kim, 13, birdied Nos. 10 and 11—her self-described best shots of the day. Those shots displayed the results of hard work both on and off the course prior to the tournament.
“Yesterday during the practice round my putting stroke was way off,” Kim said. “I worked on it in the hotel room last night and fixed it for today.”
Despite her strong putting Tuesday, Kim called her irons the best part of her game for the round.
“My iron play was the best part of my game today,” Kim said. “They were very accurate, and I was hitting them solidly.”
In the Girls Division, Lily Bartell of Cave Creek, Ariz., sits alone in second place with an even-par 72, and Jinjutha Noibanchong of Mandeville, La., and Gabriella Then of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., both shot 2-over-par 74s to tie for third.
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 49 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, 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 for the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu will run from 6:30 to 8:09 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at The Refuge Golf Club. For more information on the Junior All-Star at Lake Havasu, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (928) 764-4653.