LEE LOCKS IN, MAINTAINS LEAD WITH SECOND SOLID ROUND IN MALVERN
Gunter shoots scintillating 66 to trail by two strokes at White Manor Country Club
MALVERN, Pa. — Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., played a second consecutive round of steady and smart golf Wednesday and holds a two-stroke lead going into the final round of the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship. Bolting up the leaderboard into second place was Courtney Gunter of Matthews, N.C., who set the course on fire with a spectacular 5-under-par 66.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at White Manor Country Club. The 78-player field features players from 14 states, Argentina, Colombia and Canada. The tournament is being played at 6,186 yards
Steady was the word of the day for Lee, 13, who managed to keep her cool on a tepid Wednesday afternoon in Pennsylvania. Her 17 fairways in regulation helped facilitate a plethora of birdie opportunities, four of which she capitalized on. A bogey on No. 1 and a double bogey on No. 10 were the only blips on her otherwise stellar day, but showing the mark of a potential champion, she rebounded quickly and efficiently by carding pars on the following holes. At the end of the day, she walked to the scoring tent with an even-par 71 for the day and a 3-under-par 139 for the championship.
“I try not to think about the score too much,” Lee said. “I have had leads before and have lost them, so I know that I just need to play my game and not focus on what other people are doing and everything will work out.”
Breathing down Lee's neck in second place is Gunther, 17, whose tournament-record round at the White Manor Country Club had onlookers doing double-takes at the scoreboard all day. The North Carolina commit recorded a stunning five birdies on the front nine, sending a message to the leaders that they had a serious threat working her way up the leaderboard. Despite recording a triple-bogey on the par-4 No. 13, she finished her round with three pars and two birdies, including a birdie on No. 14, which put an exclamation mark on her afternoon.
“I just had to forget about No. 13 and not make any changes to my game,” Gunther said. “I was putting better today and hit more greens, and that definitely helped my score in going so low.”
Alone in third place is Jessica Korda of Bradenton, Fla., with a two-round total of 1-over-par 143. Ginger Howard, Maria Piccio and Kristina Wong, all of Bradenton, Fla., are all tied for fourth, having recorded a two-round total of 3-over-par 145.
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. 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.
Final-round tee times for the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship will run from 8 — 9:48 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at White Manor Country Club Thursday. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Julie Kickbusch at (770) 617-3050.