Kennerly Extends Lead Heading into Final Round of FJ Invitational
Three players tied for second, six strokes back
GREENSBORO, N.C. — The top of the leaderboard at Sedgefield Country Club remained largely unchanged at the conclusion of Thursday's third round of the FJ Invitational. Billy Kennerly of Alpharetta, Ga., shot a 3-under-par 67 for a tournament total of 11-under-par 199, distancing himself from the field. Three players stayed tied for second at 5-under-par 205.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the FJ Invitational is a 72-hole stroke play event at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C. The 99-player field features golfers from 23 states and 10 foreign countries. Home of PGA TOUR's Wyndham Championship, the par-70 course plays at 7,116 yards. The winner of the FJ Invitational will receive a sponsor's exemption into the Wyndham Championship in August.
Kennerly's third round featured five birdies, including a chip-in on the par-3 12th. The first- and second-round leader credited his competitor, rather than his short-game play, for the made shot.
“That was a good chip, but I got a read from Chad (Cox). We were in the same spot and he hit it to about a foot,” Kennerly said. “So, I think that's more of a ‘Thank you, Chad, for giving me a good read.'”
Kennerly, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to play at Clemson in the fall, said he's trying not to think about the exemption to the PGA TOUR's Wyndham Championship awarded to the winner. Instead, the recent graduate said he wishes to taste victory for more personal reasons.
“It would be nice because I've been close a lot,” said Kennerly, who has finished second in his last two AJGA tournaments. “And it would be a nice little touch to finish off before I go to college.”
Kennerly also will be flirting with history Friday as he looks to break the 72-hole tournament record at the FJ Invitational, which stands at 11-under-par (Andrew Yun, 2006, Forest Oaks Country Club).
Chad Cox of Charlotte, N.C., Connor Black of Katy, Texas, and Byron Meth of San Diego each carded an even-par 70 to remain tied for second at 5-under-par 205. Tied for fifth at 4-under-par 206 are Cody Proveaux of Leesville, S.C., and Will Zalatoris of Plano, Texas.
The field was cut to the low 60 and ties following the third round. Sixty-one players made the cut, which fell at 12-over-par 222.
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 provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 40 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 500 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel.
Final-round tee times will run from 7 - 10:20 a.m. off the No. 1 tee at Sedgefield Country Club. For more information about the FJ Invitational, please contact AJGA tournament headquarters at (336) 218-0077.