Hooks, Gerard and Toste Share the Lead in the Erie Junior Golf Classic
Campbell captures first-round lead at The Kahkwa Club
ERIE, Pa. — Joe Hooks of Commerce Township, Mich., Matthew Gerard of Rocky River, Ohio, and Zachary Toste of Pembroke Pines, Fla., all fired 3-under-par 68 to lead the Boys Division at The Kahkwa Club. Talia Campbell of Dallas, carded a 1-under-par 70 to grab the early lead in the Girls Division of the Erie Junior Golf Classic.
The Erie Junior Golf Classic is a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at The Kahkwa Club. The 98-player field features 74 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18, from 15 states and Canada. The Boys Division is playing the par-71 course at 6,518 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 6,045 yards.
Hooks fought off some stray tee shots with an excellent day of putting to card his 3-under-par 68. Accompanied by solid iron play, Hooks managed to sink five birdies on the day.
“My putter was working today,” Hooks said. “I had no three putts. I did a good job of staying below the hole. I also did a good job of hitting my irons and approach shots to where I wanted them.”
Gerard relied heavily on his wedge game to get his 3-under-par 68. He started the day with birdies on three of his first four holes and finished with six birdies and hit 15 fairways.
“I was hitting all my wedges really close,” Gerard said. “On the first two holes I hit both wedges to about a foot and that got my day off to a good start.”
Toste reached his 3-under-par 68 by executing a good up-and-down game. Toste combined great scrambling with solid putting and carded five birdies on his round.
“My putting was going really well for me today,” Toste said. “It was just one of those days. The last two holes I made some really good up-and-downs.”
Close behind the three leaders in a tie for fourth are Meechai Padungsiriseth of Bradenton, Fla., Derrick Kim of Congers, N.Y., and Ryan Cole of Mount Airy, Md., all with 2-under-par 69.
Campbell lit-up the back nine at The Kahkwa Club, carding four birdies on that side alone, earning herself the lead in the Girls Division. Campbell credited her good round to solid iron play throughout the day.
“My approach shots helped me a lot,” Campbell said. “I was giving myself good looks at birdies. I had birdies on Nos. 10, 11, and 12 which really jump-started everything for me.”
Behind Campbell in second place is Juliet Vongphoumy of Providence, R.I., with an even-par 71. In a tie for third are Erica Herr of New Hope, Pa., and Joyce Kim of Carlsbad, Calif., with 1-over-par 72.
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 Erie Junior Golf Classic will run from 7 a.m. — 12:20 p.m. off the No. 1 tee at The Kahkwa Club. For more information about the Erie Junior Golf Classic please contact Tournament Director Courtney Jones at (678) 617-9406.