DELIO AND GUTHRIE LEAD BOYS DIVISION AT ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Ellenbogen shoots par to maintain lead in Girls Division
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nick Delio of Valencia, Calif., and Luke Guthrie of Quincy, Ill., are tied for the lead in the Boys Division with even-par 213 tournament totals following the third round of the Rolex Tournament of Champions. In the Girls Division, Courtney Ellenbogen of Blacksburg, Va., held onto the lead after shooting an even-par 71 Thursday for a tournament total 1-under-par 212.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a 72-hole stroke play event being held at The Ohio State University Golf Club — Scarlet Course. The field was cut to 78 players after Wednesday's second round. The par-71 course is being played at 7,346 yards in the Boys Division and 6,188 yards in the Girls Division. This year marks the 30th edition of the AJGA's flagship tournament. Past champions of this event include Esther Choe, Philip Francis, Charles Howell III, Jamie Lovemark, Phil Mickelson, Grace Park and Morgan Pressel.
Delio, who was tied for the lead after round one, said he was happy about the way he played.
“I just try to relax out there, play smart and keep the ball behind the hole,” Delio said.
Delio came into this tournament hoping to place among the top 10. But after sinking two uphill 50-foot putts on Nos. 2 and 7 Thursday, he moved into the lead and said he plans to stay calm and focused tomorrow in order to drive in the win.
After only his third AJGA event, Guthrie also moved into the lead, thanks to his solid putting. He said he has become a more confident player this year, which led to his first AJGA victory at the Rand Graphics-Wildcat Golf Wichita Junior Championship in June and an exemption into this tournament.
“I'm confident with the ball,” Guthrie said. “I've been able to put a good stroke on the ball and hopefully make it.”
Patrick Reed of Baton Rouge, La., Wesley Graham of Port Orange, Fla., and Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., are all tied for third place with scores of 2-over-par 215.
In the Girls Division, Ellenbogen played a solid third round to remain atop the leaderboard. The Virginia-native said she is used to playing hilly terrains like the challenging Scarlet Course, which has played to her advantage.
“It's always harder to play when you're in the lead,” Ellenbogen said. “I just have to keep playing consistently and keep making putts.”
Ellenbogen said her short game has been strong all week, which showed when the two-day leader eagerly returned to the practice putting green after yesterday's nearly three-hour rain delay.
“I've always felt putting is the most important part of the game, so I've been working on that,” Ellenbogen said. “I always feel that there's something I can improve upon.”
Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., and Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., both remain in contention and are tied for second place at 2-over-par 215.
Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Tournament of Champions, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 25 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
Final-round tee times at the Rolex Tournament of Champions will begin at 7 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10 tees Friday. For more information on the Rolex Tournament of Champions, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (614) 326-7376.