Smith Cards 1-Under-Par 71 to Lead Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation
Buchanan Ahead in Girls Division at The Members Club Course
SOUTHPORT, N.C. — Trey Smith of Virginia Beach, Va., had two birdies on the back nine on his way to 1-under-par 71 and a two-shot lead after the first round of the Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation. Samantha Buchanan of Bluffton, S.C., used a boost in her short game to pace the field in the Girls Division with a 10-over-par 82. Both players hold leads while playing in their first American Junior Golf Association tournament.
Conducted by the AJGA, the Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation is a 36-hole stroke play event being held at St. James Plantation — The Members Club Course. The 93-player field features players from 19 states. The Boys Division is playing St. James Plantation — The Members Club Course at 6,704 yards, while the Girls Division is playing at 5,764 yards.
Smith played the front nine with absolute consistency. He hit every fairway and green, and two-putted every hole on his way to an even-par 36. His back nine was propelled by a strong start on the first few holes.
“I made a long par putt on No. 11 and that's what got me going,” Smith said. “Then I birdied the next hole.”
Brantley Kushner of Leesburg, Va., and Minchung Kim of Cary, N.C., both shot 1-over-par 73 and are tied for second heading into the final round. Clay Brown of Davidson, N.C., sits alone in fourth place after carding a 2-over-par 74. Jay Carroll of Upper Arlington, Ohio, Robert Zieser of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Ethan Wall of Brielle, N.J., all share fifth place after finishing at 3-over-par 75.
Buchanan relied on her short game all day long as she was able to jump out to a two-stroke lead in the Girls Division. She plans to continue to attack the flagsticks tomorrow and capitalize on opportunities as they arise.
“My short game was actually pretty good,” Buchanan said. “I had two different putts from the fringe that I put just on the edge of the cup.”
Devon Compton of Rochester, Mich., will begin the final round in second place after finishing with a 12-over-par 84. Allyson Markiewicz of Charlotte, N.C. follows in third place at 13-over-par 85.
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 provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
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. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
The final round of the Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation begins Sunday, April 11 at St. James Plantation — The Members Club Course with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. For more information about the Preseason Junior at St. James Plantation, call Tournament Headquarters at (770) 861-0519.