ASHWORTH JUNIOR AT KINGWOOD
Kingwood Country Club â€“ Marsh Course
March 26-28, 2004
HOT BACK NINE PROPELS OATES TO FIRST-ROUND LEAD AT KINGWOOD
Yu in second followed by five-way tie for third
KINGWOOD, Texas â€“ Matthew Oates of Diboll, Texas, got off to a rocky start on the first nine holes, but found his stroke after the turn in Saturdayâ€™s first round of the Ashworth Junior at Kingwood. The 17-year-old used his newfound stroke to fire a 32 on the back nine. This, coupled with his 40 on the front side, resulted in an even-par 72 and a one-stroke lead after the first round.
The Ashworth Junior at Kingwood is a 36-hole stroke-play event hosted by the American Junior Golf Association at Kingwood Country Club. The tournament features 95 players from 13 states, with 63 hailing from the host state of Texas.
The AJGAâ€™s Ashworth Junior Series is designed specifically for first-time AJGA members or those members who have not yet participated in an AJGA Open event, AJGA Invitational or Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series event in the current calendar year and/or the previous calendar year.
Oates got off to a slow start by bogeying three of the first four holes, and fell to 5-over-par after a double bogey on the par-4 seventh hole. However, with a birdie on the par-5 ninth hole, Oatesâ€™ luck began to change.
â€śThe strong winds were a really big factor early in my round,â€ť Oates said. â€śI just couldnâ€™t get anything going because it was so tough to judge the wind and pick the right club.â€ť
Following the birdie on No. 9, Oates kept his momentum by making a 20-foot putt to save par on No. 10. After another par on No. 11, Oates birdied Nos. 12 and 13 to get back to 2-over-par for the round. The junior then carded three pars, before closing with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 to put him at 4-under-par on the back nine and even-par for the round.
â€śThe long par putt on No. 10 was big for me,â€ť Oates said. â€śIt really got me going and everything came together on the back side.â€ť
Finishing the first round one stroke behind Oates in second place was Sumin Yu of Pasadena, Texas. The 15-year-old carded a 39 on the front nine and a 34 on the back nine for his 1-over-par total of 73.
â€śThere are so many hazards and you have to lay-up off of several tees,â€ť Yu said. â€śThat makes the course tough, but I putted pretty well, and that allowed me to keep my score from getting too high.â€ť
Yu recorded only 26 putts for his round, including just 12 on the final nine holes.
Sitting three strokes off the lead in a five-way tie for third are Charles Lamb of Magnolia, Texas, Harris English of Moultrie, Ga., Ryan Rubich of The Woodlands, Texas, Matthew Schneider of Pasadena, Texas and Trent Peterson of Eagan, Minn. Each of these golfers carded 3-over-par rounds of 75.
The final-round of the Ashworth Junior at Kingwood will begin with an 8 a.m. shotgun start Sunday morning.
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 has a membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGAâ€™s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Associationâ€™s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
For more information about the Ashworth Junior at Kingwood, please contact tournament headquarters at (281) 348-2279.