Griffiths Seizes Strong Lead in the First Round of the AJGA Junior at Wenatchee
Prince and Kim tied for lead in Girls Division at Wenatchee Golf & Country Club
EAST WENATCHEE, Wash. — Zak Griffiths of Red Deer, Alberta, fired a 6-under-par 66 to take an early lead in the first round of the AJGA Junior at Wenatchee. Kendall Prince of Lake Oswego, Ore., and Leilanie Kim of Surrey, British Columbia, each carded a 1-under-par 71 to share the lead in the Girls Division lead by three strokes.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Junior at Wenatchee is a 54-hole stroke-play competition held at Wenatchee Golf & Country Club. The 99-player field features 72 boys and 27 girls, representing 12 states and Canada. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course from 6,364 while the Girls Division is playing from 6,006.
Griffiths played aggressively where he needed to give him a solid round and emerge with a 2-stroke lead. Griffiths credited his seven birdies he tallied for the day to his putter.
“I have been working on my putting lately, and I was able to roll the ball very well today,” Griffiths said. “I just want to ignore my score today so that I can remain focused during the next two rounds.”
In the Boys Division, Eric Peng of San Diego, holds the second-place position at 4-under-par 68. Alika Bell of Kaneohe, Hawaii and Nickolaus Mandell of Kennewick, Wash., are tied in third at 3-under-par 69. Also in a tie, at fifth place, are Eric Sugimoto of San Diego, and Lorens Chan of Honolulu, at 1-under-par 71.
Prince says she has been driving the ball well recently, but attributed her low first-round score to her putting. As a recent convert from soccer, Prince is now focusing her skills on golf and says that she hopes to remain steady with her game going into the next two rounds. After nine holes, Prince was at 2-over-par 38, but was able to putt her way into a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine.
“I went pretty low on my second nine holes today,” Prince said. “I want to do the same tomorrow; make at least par on the front and grab some birdies on the back.”
Kim began the day strong with a birdie on the first hole. She had a solid round as she carded five birdies and four bogeys for the day.
“No. 16 was my best hole today,” Kim said. “I hit a great tee shot down the middle of the fairway. My second shot went just past the hole, it was a hard lie but my putt just kept turning in and it went in for birdie. ”
Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division is Jennifer Yang of Coquitlam, British Columbia at 2-over-par 74.
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 30 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 Watch USA, 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 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
Second-round tee times for the AJGA Junior at Wenatchee will run from 7:00 a.m. — 12:20 p.m. For more information about the AJGA Junior at Wenatchee, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (678) 617-2420).