MCCREADY AND FOWLER SHARE LEAD AT 6-UNDER PAR 66
Lu alone at the top of the Mission Hill Desert Junior Girls Division
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — Rickie Fowler of Murrieta, Calif., and Kenneth McCready of Placerville, Calif., fired 6-under-par 66's on Tuesday during the opening round of the Mission Hills Desert Junior. Their low rounds left them with a share of the lead while the pack looms one stroke behind. In the Girls Division, Hsiao-Ching Lu of Taipei, Taiwan is alone at the top after shooting a 1-under-par 71.
The Mission Hills Desert Junior, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 63 boys and 21 girls — ages 12-18 — from five states and one foreign country. The event is being staged on the par-72, 6,805-yard Mission Hills Country Club's Palmer Course (Girls Division played at 6,157).
An eagle on the 499-yard, par-5 No. 15 allowed 17-year-old McCready to ease through the rest of his round. He then capped off the day with a birdie on No. 18.
“I didn't have a string of anything going out there,” said McCready. “I just saved par where I could and things ended well.”
Fowler appeared to do all he could on Tuesday in order to ensure a bogey-free round. Hitting every green, the 16-year-old finished up with six birdies.
“The course was tough out there,” said Fowler. “But if you were able to keep everything in play, you can score low.”
Both boys hope to score lower tomorrow in order to fend of the tight pack. Rory Hie of Lakewood, Calif., sits alone in third after shooting a 5-under-par 67. In a tie for fourth in the Boys Division firing 68's are Louis Amira of Valencia, Calif., and Sihwan Kim of Fullerton, Calif.
Playing in her third AJGA tournament, 17-year-old Lu leads the Girls Division by two strokes. Although her irons were not dialed in, her short game bailed her out in the end. With three birdies and two bogeys on the day, she hopes to play solid again tomorrow.
“I am going to play my game and do my best,” said Lu. “I will just have to be careful.”
In only her first year with the AJGA, this is the second time Lu has led an event. She hopes to maintain her lead over Jennie Lee of Huntington Beach, Calif., who shot a 1-over-par 73. Sydnee Michaels of Temecula, Calif., rounds out the top three in the Girls Division with a 2-over-par 74.
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 a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 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 enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
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 Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
Second-round tee times will begin Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Mission Hills Country Club.
For more information about the Mission Hills Desert Junior, contact tournament headquarters at (760) 324-9400 ext. 507.