KRING AND BLAKE SHARE BOYS DIVISION LEAD AT RICH HARVEST
Neff tops Girls Division leaderboard
Sugar Grove, Ill. â€“ Kevin Kring of Springfield, Mo., and Bryan Blake of Westerville, Ohio, fired even-par 72s to share the lead of the Boys Division at the Fidelity Investments Junior Shootout at Rich Harvest on Wednesday. Aimee Neff of Carmel, Ind., carded a 9-over-par 81 to lead the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Fidelity Investments Junior Shootout at Rich Harvest is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Rich Harvest Farms. The tournament features 81 boys and 18 girls, ages 12-18, from 22 state and Ontario, including 43 from Illinois.
Kring, 15, was pleased with his consistent round, which featured a 36 on the Gold nine and a 36 on the Silver nine with two birdies and two bogeys. Kring contributed his solid play to his long irons, with which he hit 14 greens.
â€śMy game is hitting fairways and greens, and that is what I did today,â€ť Kring said. â€śMy iron play was as good as it could be. This course fits my game well.â€ť
Kringâ€™s strong iron play was particularly evident on the beginning of the Silver nine. He hit his tee shot into the weeds on hole No. 2 Silver, but was able to get up-and-down to within 10 feet of the flagstick and make par. Kring then birdied hole No. 3 Silver and made par on the difficult No. 4 Silver. Kring said his strategy for the rest of the tournament is to continue making pars.
Blakeâ€™s 72 consisted of a 37 on the Gold nine and a 35 on the Silver nine with one eagle, two birdies and four bogeys.
â€śI wasnâ€™t sure what to expect, but everything went well out there,â€ť Blake said. â€śI was hitting it well and putting decently.â€ť
Blake, 17, ran into trouble at the end of the Gold nine, bogeying the difficult No. 8 and 9 Gold holes. He was able to recover and make birdie on hole No. 1 Silver and card an eagle on hole No. 2 Silver, which restored his confidence heading to the final holes.
Andrew Ladwig of East Grand Rapids, Mich., stands alone in third place after carding a 2-over-par 74. Tied for fourth with 3-over-par 75s are Mike Ott of Highland Park, Ill., Jed Dirksen of Hampton, Iowa, and Adam Hogue of Plymouth, Mich.
Neff, playing in her first AJGA event, went into the round knowing that Rich Harvest Farms would play tough. Her 81 featured a 43 on the Gold Nine and a 38 on the Silver Nine. Although she hit accurate tee shots, Neff struggled with her approaches.
â€śI felt like I was scrambling out there today,â€ť Neff said. â€śI just tried not to get discouraged and tried to stay in it mentally.â€ť
Neff, 16, bounced back after a tough time on the Gold nine with a solid Silver nine. She made par on seven of the nine holes and felt her putting was stronger. For the next two rounds, Neff is looking to keep focused and take one hole at a time.
Alexandra Lederhausen of Hinsdale, Ill., shot an 11-over-par 83 for sole possession of second place. Justine Heath of Arroyo Grande, Calif., stands alone in third with a 12-over-par 84.
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 a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGAâ€™s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Associationâ€™s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
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 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
Second-round tee times will begin off No. 1 Gold at 7 a.m. on Thursday. For more information about the Fidelity Investments Junior Shootout at Rich Harvest, contact tournament headquarters at (630) 466-7610 and ask for the AJGA.