GREENSBORO, GA - Michaela Morard of Huntsville, Alabama, fired a 36-hole score of 10-under-par 134 to lead the Girls Division by eight strokes heading into the final round of the Justin Rose Junior All-Star Invitational at Reynolds Lake Oconee. In the Boys Division, Jackson Van Paris of Pinehurst, North Carolina, carded an 8-under-par 136 after the first two rounds at the Great Waters Course. Upcoming weather because of Hurricane Nate rescheduled tee times to a 36-hole shotgun for the opening two rounds.
With a field of 84 players determined by the Rolex AJGA Rankings and top junior golfers who competed in ACDS Junior All-Star Series qualifying events, the Invitational caps off the season-long Road to Reynolds campaign. The champions of each of the 16 ACDS Junior All-Star Series events and ACDS Junior All-Star Team members received an automatic invitation to the event. Fifty-four holes will help determine the event's 18th champion in history.
Many juniors got their start with the ACDS Junior All-Star Series, most notably Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Inbee Park, Brittany Lang and Alison Lee.
After an opening-round 7-under-par 65, Morard, a University of Alabama verbal commit, posted a 3-under-par 69 featuring five birdies and an eagle to lead the Girls Division by eight.
“I knew all the girls in my group today, and playing with them really helped make this long day fun,” Morard said. “Towards the end, I got pretty tired. Great Waters is beautiful, but the water and the wind make it challenging, especially on the back nine. I’m excited to see how tomorrow goes after these first two rounds, and try to recreate the success I had today.”
At No. 22 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, Morard is the highest-ranked player in the field. A three-time AJGA champion, two-time Rolex Junior All-American and three-time ACDS Junior All-Star Team member, Morard is in the hunt for her first AJGA Invitational victory after a runner-up finish at the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational.
Makenzie Niblett of Austin, Texas, jumped six spots on the leaderboard to T2 after carding a second-round 4-under-par 68. Phoebe Brinker of Wilmington, Delaware is tied for second after posting a 1-under-par 71 in both the first and second rounds. Niblett, a 2017 ACDS Junior All-Star Team member, carded five birdies during her second round. Brinker, the back-to-back champion at the Windham Mountain Resort Junior All-Star in 2016 and 2017 eagled No. 18 for a first round 1-under-par 71. The pair enter the final round at 2-under-par 142.
Jackson Van Paris of Pinehurst, North Carolina, finished the first round tied for the lead after carding seven birdies for a 5-under-par 67. In the second round, the 2017 ACDS Junior All-Star Team member fired a 3-under-par 69 to take the tournament lead by two strokes at 8-under-par 136. Van Paris won his first event at the 2017 AJGA Junior All-Star at Forsgate and has finished inside the top-15 in all six AJGA events this year.
“I just tried to continue momentum from the first round,” Van Paris said. “I tried to stay loose and happy through the break. During the whole day, I would say I tried not to be too serious, and not too uptight. I knew if I played my game I’d be able to stay in contention with all these guys.”
Dawson Ovard of Frisco, Texas, sits two strokes back going into the final round. After an opening-round even-par 72, Ovard played the second round bogey-free and carded six birdies for a 6-under-par 66. The Southern Methodist University commit is one of 10 college commits in the field.
Evan Vo of Austin, Texas, and Harrison Ornstein of Naples, Florida, sit tied for third at a tournament-total 4-under-par 140.
With 36-hole totals of 3-under-par 141, Gordon Sargent of Birmingham, Alabama, and Jackson Rivera of Racho Santa Fe, California and Junyi Tang of Beijing, China, are tied for fifth heading into the final round of the Justin Rose Junior All-Star Invitational at Reynolds Lake Oconee.
About the ACDS Junior All-Star Series
The ACDS Junior All-Star Series was created within the AJGA in 1998 to give younger players, ages 12-15, the opportunity to compete at the national level against their peers with a golf course setup that reflects this goal of yardages more appropriate for this age group. Many juniors got their start with the ACDS Junior All-Star Series, most notably Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Inbee Park, Brittany Lang and Alison Lee.
American College Development Solutions (ACDS) assists junior athletes develop into College-bound student-athletes, helping to expand their academic, athletic, personal and cultural skill-sets, while guiding them towards their ultimate goal of joining the ranks of the NCAA. ACDS provides student-athletes with structured development and training programs according to authentic education and athletic preparation guidelines for College admissions, and opportunities for junior athletes to get exposed to College coaches. Operating in various countries, ACDS has become one of the world's leading College athletics development companies, pioneering a grassroots effort to educate international junior athletics communities of the realities of College sports in America. By focusing on long-term results, ACDS helps student-athletes live a more fulfilled and successful life at College and afterwards.
About the Road to Reynolds
A season-long campaign, the Road to Reynolds celebrates champions from the 16 ACDS Junior All-Star Series events who entry into the season-ending Justin Rose Junior All-Star Invitational at Reynolds Lake Oconee. The 54-hole stroke play event held over Columbus Day weekend on the Reynolds Lake Oconee Great Waters course in Greensboro, Georgia, will crown an overall champion among junior golfers ages 12-15.
About Reynolds Lake Oconee
Located in the Georgia Lake Country nearly 90 miles east of Atlanta, Reynolds has been a world-renowned private Club and resort for almost three decades. The 10,000-acre private resort community features six championship golf courses, nine restaurants, The Ritz-Carlton®, fitness and tennis centers, miles of lakefront and walking trails, four full service marinas and a robust social calendar year round.
With easy access to Atlanta's international airport, most of the country can be home at Reynolds after only one flight and an easy drive down Interstate 20 to Lake Oconee.
About Great Waters
The breathtaking Great Waters course at Reynolds Lake Oconee will serve as the host course of the 2017 AJGA Junior All-Star Invitational. Eighteen major professional titles long ago cemented Jack Nicklaus' on-course legacy in golf history as one of the game's greatest performers. Golfers who play his Great Waters course at Reynolds will confirm his architectural skills represent another exceptional legacy. The dramatic signature layout of Great Waters, much of which winds among the tranquil coves of 19,000 acre Lake Oconee helped placed Reynolds on the map when the course opened in 1992. Great Waters begins with a parkland-style front nine which meanders through rolling hills and thick forests. The gorgeous 9th is the first of the lake holes, as the water creeps in on the right side of the green. The back nine is a completely different experience, with eight of the final nine holes touching the lake.
About Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade
One of only two such facilities in the country, the Reynolds Kingdom of Golf presented by TaylorMade combines superior club-fitting with world-class golf instruction to create an exclusive retreat designed to improve your game. As a benefit of being an AJGA member, you have access to the identical services and experience that PGA Tour and LPGA Tour pros receive at the Reynolds Kingdom of Golf.
TaylorMade club-fitting professionals provide one-on-one consultations using the latest technology to synchronize the proper equipment with your personal swing specifications to create optimal performance for all the clubs in your bag.
About the AJGA
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 12-19) of more than 6,600 members from 50 states and 55 foreign countries. Through initiatives like the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant, a financial assistance program, and Leadership Links, a service-oriented platform that teaches juniors charitable-giving skills, the AJGA fosters the growth of golf’s next generation.
TaylorMade-adidas Golf became the AJGA’s National Sponsor in 2016 after more than 25 years of support. Rolex, which is in its fourth decade of AJGA sponsorship, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2017, adidas joined the AJGA as a Premier Partner, serving as the Official Apparel and Footwear of the AJGA.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 830 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia, Hunter Mahan, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Justin Thomas, Stacy Lewis, Ariya Jutanugarn, Alison Lee, Lexi Thompson, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel.