GAINESVILLE, Va. – Sophie Zhang-Murphy of Saratoga, California, holds the first-round lead at the 30th Rolex Girls Junior Championship. The four-time AJGA champion opened the tournament with a 5-under-par 67 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club.
The Rolex Girls Junior Championship is one of the most prestigious events on the AJGA schedule. The tournament boasts several high-profile champions, including Kellee Booth, Brittany Lang, Inbee Park, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Ariya Jutanugarn and Alison Lee. In addition to its notable past champions, the all-girls Invitational is known for its distinguished host venues, which includes LPGA International, Long Cove Club, The Country Club of North Carolina, Promontory Club, Dalhousie Golf Club and Concession Golf Club.
Zhang-Murphy opened her round with a bogey on the first hole of the day, but she kicked it into gear from there, going the rest of the round without registering another one. In fact, she quickly flipped the switch with four birdies over Nos. 4-8 to give her a share of the lead early in the day. After making the turn at 3-under-par 33, Zhang-Murphy registered seven-straight pars before holing out from a fairway bunker on No. 17 for an eagle. She leads the Rolex Girls Junior Championship by three strokes.
The 2022 grad earned two AJGA victories in 2020 at the Under Armour® / Alison Lee Championship presented by Irvine Technology Corporation and the UHY / The First Tee of Greater Baltimore Junior Championship. Zhang-Murphy is No. 20 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Grace Summerhays of Scottsdale, Arizona; Catherine Rao of Camarillo, California; Amanda Sambach of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Sophie Linder of Carthage, Tennessee, are T2 at 2-under-par 70.
Summerhays finished T8 at the 2020 Rolex Girls Junior Championship. Of her last eight AJGA tournament appearances, Summerhays owns five top-10 finishes. The Arizona native is No. 29 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Rao owns one AJGA victory at the 2018 AJGA Junior All-Star at Wood Ranch. She had a strong 2020 with a fourth-place finish at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and a T3 finish at The PING Invitational to round out her year. Rao is No. 10 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Sambach is playing in her final Rolex Girls Junior Championship before heading to the University of Virginia in the fall. Her junior golf resume features six victories and two Rolex Junior All-America Team honors. One of those six wins was the 2018 Rolex Tournament of Champions.
Linder rounds out the top-5 after day one. The Tennessee native is riding a streak of five-straight tournaments with a top-10 finish. She is No. 40 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings.
Second-round tee times will run from 7 - 10:50 a.m. off No. 1 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Club on Wednesday, June 16.
Rolex and Golf
Rolex is committed to the permanent quest for excellence in all its endeavors and has been a long-term supporter of golf in its pursuit of the same. The brand’s enduring relationship with the sport began more than 50 years ago, in 1967, when Arnold Palmer, joined by Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, became the brand’s first golfing Testimonees. Known together as The Big Three, these legendary players changed the face of golf forever, and their partnership with Rolex marked the beginning of a relationship based on the shared commitment to continuous improvement and unwavering precision. Since then, the affiliation has grown and flourished, permeating every level of the game worldwide. From elite players and golf legends, to all the game’s Major championships, where success represents the pinnacle of achievement in the sport, as well as the foremost professional tours and worldwide amateur championships, Rolex is ever-present. In 2021 Rolex further deepened its support by becoming a Worldwide Partner of The Ryder Cup, to act as Official Timekeeper at every iteration of the sport’s pre-eminent team competition. The Swiss manufacturer’s support for the game is built on a strong sense of integrity and respect for tradition that promote the continuity of expertise and transfer of knowledge, and an understanding of the importance of investing in the sport’s development for future generations.
An unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise
Rolex, a Swiss watch manufacture headquartered in Geneva, is recognized the world over for its expertise and the quality of its products. Its Oyster Perpetual and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. The word “Perpetual” is inscribed on every Rolex Oyster. But more than just a word on a dial, it is a philosophy that embodies the company’s vision and values. Hans Wilsdorf, the founder of the company, instilled a notion of perpetual excellence that would drive the company forward. This led Rolex to pioneer the development of the wristwatch and numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism, invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 500 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Furthermore, Rolex is actively involved in supporting the arts and culture, sport and exploration, as well as those who are devising solutions to preserve the planet.