Jelley, Larkin lead heading into final round at the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship
Schmelzel maintains lead heading into final round at Rivercut Golf Course
SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- After two days of play, Brendon Jelley of Tulsa, Okla., and Wyatt Larkin of Morganton, Ga., are tied at 6-under-par 138. Sarah Schmelzel of Phoenix, Ariz., leads the Girls Division after shooting a 1-under-par 71, for a two-day total of 4-under-par 140.
The Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, Mo. The tournament field includes 72 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18 from 19 states, China, Australia, Mexico, Taiwan, and South Korea. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,875 yards and the Girls Division is playing the course at 6,001 yards.
Jelley, who has two fifth place finishes on his AJGA resume, carded a 1-under-par 71 in the second round. In a round that was highlighted by a strong short game, a birdie on No. 18 stuck out to Jelley.
“My best hole was No. 18,” Jelley said, “I had a perfect tee shot; hit it to the center of the green, and then two-putted for birdie.”
Jelley hopes to end tomorrow with his first AJGA Championship under his belt.
“I've been really close a few times, so to actually finish one off would be really nice,” Jelley said.
Larkin, who entered the day tied for third place after posting a day one score of 3-under-par 69, continued his consistent play by carding another 3-under-par 69. Larkin's round contained five birdies and only two bogeys. In just his fourth AJGA event, Larkin is focused on staying consistent and calm in the final round.
“I want to stay relaxed, and keep the putts rolling. I'm going to hope for the best, whatever happens, happens,” Larkin said.
Tied for third place are Grant Hirschman of Collierville, Tenn., and Alvaro Ortiz of Zapopan, Mexico, at 5-under-par 139. Tied for fifth place are Chase Hanna of Leawood, Kan., and Joey Johnson of Ozark, Mo., at 2-under-par 142.
In the Girls Division, Schmelzel maintained her lead by carding a solid 1-under-par 71, a tournament total of 4-under-par 140. In a round that was paced by solid drives and consistent placement on the fairways, Schmelzel had five birdies. Schmelzel heads into Thursday's final round attempting to close in on her first AJGA victory.
“I plan on not changing anything, I'm going to stick to my plan and execute everything to the best of my ability,” Schmelzel said, “Winning would definitely be a confidence booster.”
Jordan Chael of Overland Park, Kan. sits alone in second place with a tournament total 2-over-par 146. Alison Armstrong of Tampa, Fla., Patricia Lee of Lone Tree, Colo., and Vivian Hsuan Chen of Bradenton, Fla., are all tied for third at 7-over-par 151.
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 for the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship will run from 7:30 a.m. — 9:31 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Rivercut Golf Course. For more information about the Bass Pro Shops/Payne Stewart Junior Championship contact Tournament Director Courtney Jones at (678) 617-9406.