BLUE ANGELS KICK OFF WEEK OF COMPETITON AT JERRY PATE/ANDREWS INSTITUTE SOUTHERN JUNIOR
Brozovich and Hood, Jr., lead Boys Division by one, Belcher tops girls leaderboard after shooting even-par 72
PENSACOLA, Fla. — William Brozovich of Greenville, Miss., and Warren Hood, Jr. of Wesson, Miss., each shot opening round 3-under-par 69 to take the lead in the Boys Division after 18 holes. In the Girls Division, Kellye Belcher of Bartlett, Tenn., carded an even-par 72 to lead by one over Sandra Changkija of Orlando, Fla., who shot 1-over-par 73.
In addition to the 3-day tournament at A.C. Read Golf Club, the AJGA staff, participants and parents were invited as guests of flight leader Commander Steve Foley to view the practice air show of the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Team, The Blue Angels. A wide-eyed audience viewed the impressive 30-minute show, and afterwards, AJGA guests were able to meet the six pilots and thank them for their service and performance.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Jerry Pate/Andrews Institute Southern Junior is being held at A.C. Read Golf Club — Bayou and Lakeview Courses. The par-72 course is set up at 6,821 yards for the Boys Division and 6,020 yards for the Girls Division. The tournament field consists of 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18, representing 14 states, including 41 Florida residents.
Brozovich, who tied for 13th at the Houchens Industries Junior Open in early June, hit 11 greens and made 29 putts to card a 3-under-par 69. The Mississippi native feels good to be leading amongst a talented group of juniors, and hopes to shoot lower the final two days by driving the ball better.
“My first nine holes I hit the ball really well, but didn't make my putts,” said Brozovich. “On the back nine I hit the ball terrible, but reversed my play from the front and made the putts. Off of my drives I had some bad lies and hit a few hazards, but still made par. I kept my score lower by taking advantage of the short shots and making birdie.”
Also tied for the lead in the Boys Division is 17-year-old Hood, Jr., who is playing in only his third AJGA event. Hood, Jr. made birdies on hole Nos. 3, 7, 10 and 13, and was speechless after his 3-under-par 69 performance.
“I hit a lot of greens today, 15 to be exact,” said Hood, Jr. “My goal for the tournament is to hit more fairways and to simply play consistently and one shot at a time for the next two days.”
Three additional boys, Doug Kenny of Roswell, Ga., Alex Donaldson of Windermere, Fla., and Michael Hebert of Palm Bay, Fla., each shot 2-under-par 70 and stand two strokes behind the leaders.
Belcher, a 2005 honorable mention Rolex Junior All-American, birdied hole Nos. 10, 13 and 17 to shoot 2-under-par 34 on the back nine and seal the lead by one stroke. Belcher contributed her low score to a new putter, 1-putting seven of nine greens on the back nine.
“I have a lot of confidence in my putter,” Belcher said. “It helps me line the ball up really well and it helped me hit a 40-foot putt for birdie on hole No. 13.”
Belcher, who has been golfing seriously for almost six years now when she began working with instructor Rob Akins, will continue her golf career at Indiana University in the fall. Before moving on to the collegiate level, Belcher hopes to clinch her second-ever AJGA win. Belcher is currently reading “The Golf of Your Dreams” by Dr. Bob Rotella that focuses on the importance of thinking confidently. Belcher says that confidence and staying in the present will be a key to continue playing well throughout the tournament.
“The book talks about staying in the present and not focusing on what will happen or what already has happened,” said Belcher. “I am just trying to stay in the present and also focus on the course instead of the competitors.”
Sandra Changkija of Orlando stands only one stroke off the leader pace after shooting a 2-over-par 38 on the front nine and 1-under-par 35 on the back nine for a combined score of 73. Tied for third after carding a 2-over-par 74, Nathada Huachai of Windermere, and Evan Jensen of Belleair, Fla., round out the top three girls.
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, Candie Kung, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer.
Second-round tee times will run from 7 a.m. — 8:57 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at A.C. Read Golf Club — Bayou and Lakeview Courses on Wednesday. For more information on the Jerry Pate/Andrews Institute Southern Junior, please call AJGA tournament headquarters at (850) 452-9157.