SAP JUNIOR OPEN
Red Tail Golf Club
Avon, Ohio • June 22 - 25
RODGERS AND BATES SHOOT 6-UNDER-PAR 66 AT REDTAIL GOLF CLUB TO LEAD FIRST ROUND
AVON, Ohio. — Zachary Bates of Chagrin Falls, Ohio and Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind., came out firing Tuesday at the SAP Junior Open, each shooting a 6-under-par 66 to lead the Boys Division. Michelle Lee of Mississauga, Ontario sunk a hole-in-one to lead the Girls Division at 1-under-par 71.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the SAP Junior Open is a 54-hole stroke play event held at Red Tail Golf Club in Avon, Ohio. The field features 90 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, from 19 states and Canada, Columbia and Indonesia. The par-72 course is played at 6,954 yards in the Boys Division and 6,151 yards in the Girls Division.
Bates came out of the gates hot and kept his game strong all day, carding five birdies and an eagle. His consistency didn't waiver all day as he shot a 3-under-par 33 on both the front and back nine.
“I've put a lot of hard work into my putting and it has finally paid off,” Bates said. “I had 27 putts and they all went exactly where I wanted them to go. If I can keep it in the fairways tomorrow, I will be in good shape for Thursday.”
Rodgers started off with a bogey on the first hole, yet also managed to card 3-under-par 33s on both nines. He hit 17 greens to co-lead the event by three strokes.
“I gave myself 12 putts inside 15 feet and lots of other birdie opportunities that I converted,” Rodgers said. “The course was playing perfect. Tomorrow I plan to play the exact same way I played today and go from there for the final round.”
Sitting in third place in the Boys Division at 3-under-par 69 is Will Morris of Columbus, Ohio. Paolo Addona of Montréal, Quebec is in fourth place at 2-under-par 70. Rounding out the top-5 boys at 1-under-par 71 are Korey Ward of West Chester, Ohio and Alex Di Palma of Waite Hill, Ohio.
Lee's first ever hole-in-one came on the 135-yard No. 5 and she stayed focus throughout the day to shoot 1-under-par 35 on the front nine and even-par-36 on the back nine, but the hole-in-one was by far the highlight of her round.
“I hit a 7-iron and didn't finish my swing because I thought I was going to overshoot it,” Lee said. “I heard a loud noise and thought the ball was in the bunker or water because I couldn't see it. But then a member of the staff started clapping and I was so shocked. I tried to calm myself down after that and stay in the present.”
Devon Brown of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., currently sits in second place one stroke back at even-par 72. Tied for third at 2-over-par 74 are Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., and Rene Sobolewski of Buffalo, N.Y.
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 50 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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 SAP Junior Open Junior will run from 7 a.m. — 1:30 p.m. off the No. 1 tee Wednesday, June 24. For more information contact Tournament Headquarters at 678-617-9917.
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