MCCARTAN'S EAGLE ON NO. 18 LIFTS HIM TO LEAD IN SPRINGFIELD
Gulugian launches 5-under-par 67 to lead Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship Girls Division
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Kyle McCartan of Plano, Texas, produced a bogey-free round of 6-under-par 66 in the second round of the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship. He leads the Boys Division by three strokes at 8-under-par 136. Ani Gulugian of Irvine, Calif., sits atop the Girls Division at 1-under-par 143. She improved on her first-round score by nine strokes, shooting 5-under-par 67 at Rivercut Golf Course, Wednesday.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Rivercut Golf Course. The tournament field features 75 boys and 23 girls, ages 12-18, from 12 states. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,947 yards, while the Girls Division is playing the course at 5,985 yards.
McCartan, who is attending Boston College in the fall, could not have played his final “moving day” in the AJGA any better. He made four birdies and an eagle on the day to move from a tie for third into sole possession of first. On No. 18, McCartan made his presence felt by reaching the green in two and sinking what he believed to be a lag putt for eagle. Without an AJGA top-five finish in his career, he really enjoys being in the hunt.
“It's exciting to see the improvement from the start of my career to now,” McCartan said. “I just want to go out with a bang.”
In second with a 5-under-par 139 is Chun-Ji Kim of Chandler, Ariz. Tied for third after two rounds are Harry Higgs of Overland Park, Kan., David Klaudt of Dallas, and defending champion Jace Long of Dixon, Mo., all at 4-under-par 140.
In the Girls Division, Gulugian was draining putts from every location on the green. Great putting made it possible for her to card the lowest competitive round in a career in which she holds four top-five finishes in AJGA events. Gulugian had only 26 putts for the day and was 4-under-par through six holes, recording birdies on Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 6. She made the commitment to better putting well before this week's rounds in Springfield.
“After my last tournament (U.S. Girls Junior Championship two weeks ago) I went to see my coach at 5 a.m. the next day,” Gulugian said. “He looked at my swing and I had a new putting stroke coming into the tournament.”
Defending champion Julia Thead of Poway, Calif., is currently in second with a 3-over-par 147. Kelsey Kirkpatrick of Golden, Texas, is in third shooting 6-over-par 150.
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.
The final round of the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship is Thursday, August 7 with tee times running off the No. 1 tee from 7 — 11:48 a.m. at Rivercut Golf Course. For more information about the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (770) 617-3050.