DUFFORD TAKES NIKE GOLF JUNIOR AT LAS CRUCES LEAD WITH 4-UNDER 68
Twelve-year-old Weaver undaunted by wind, shoots even-par to take lead
LAS CRUCES, N.M. â€” Neil Dufford of Midland, Texas, conquered blustery conditions at the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces to fire a Second Round 4-under-par 68 and take a one-stroke lead heading into the final round. In the Girls Division, Lindsey Weaver of Scottsdale, Ariz., parred the course with a steady 72 and leads the field by three strokes.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces is being played at Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. Seventy-eight boys and girls, ages 12-15, are competing on the par-72 layout. Twelve states, Canada and Mexico are represented in the tournament field.
Dufford, who battled triple-digit temperatures and 30 MPH gusts, hit 16 greens en route to tying a tournament-low 68. He birdied his first hole of the day and never looked back, carding three birdies on the back nine.
â€śI'm here with my Dad, and he spends a lot of time with me, always traveling to my tournaments,â€ť he said. â€śIt's kind of nice to play good for him.â€ť
Cody Kent of Castle Rock, Colo., followed a First-Round even-par 72 with a 4-under-par 68 to sit alone in second with a 140 tournament total. Darren Saqui of Cerritos, Calif., and Juan Pablo Hernandez are in third and fourth places at 141 and 142. Nicholas Losole III of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Edward Waller of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., are tied for fifth place at 143.
Lindsey Weaver sits atop the Girls Division with a tournament total of 146 after posting an even-par 72. The 12-year-old tamed the wind and played steady golf to enter the final round with a three-stroke lead.
â€śI always expect myself to [play] to my standards,â€ť she said. â€śI play in the wind a lot so I'm pretty much used to it.â€ť
Three strokes back, Pamela Burneski of Surrey, B.C., and Jessica Wallace of Langley, B.C., share a two-way tie for second place at 149.
The Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces is part of the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series. The Series is a collection of 10 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 year old. The Series concludes with an invitation-only Nike Golf Junior Championship, Sept. 1-3, 2006.
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 counties.
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 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
The final round of the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces begins at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. For more information on the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces, contact tournament headquarters at (505) 521-1818.