HP BOYS JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Arnold Palmerâ€™s Bay Hill Club and Lodge
July 26-30, 2004
SAUNDERS GRABS LEAD AT BAY HILL WITH OPENING-ROUND 70
Three tied for second place with 1-under-par 71s
ORLANDO, Fla. â€“ Sam Saunders of Windermere, Fla. carded a 2-under-par 70 to seize the first-round lead at the HP Boys Junior Championship. Tied for second with matching rounds of 1-under-par 71 are Mark Jones of Odessa, Texas, David Palm of Jacksonville, Fla., and Hudson Swafford of Tallahassee, Fla.
The HP Boys Junior Championship, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 82 boys, ages 12-18, from 24 states, Chile, China and Japan. The 72-hole stroke play event is being held at Arnold Palmerâ€™s Bay Hill Club and Lodge, site of the PGA TOURâ€™s annual Bay Hill Invitational. Past champions include Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and David Duval. Highlighting the 2004 field are 14 Rolex Junior All-Americans and 13 2004 AJGA tournament champions. The field will be cut to the top 50 players and ties following the second round.
Saunders recorded four birdies and recovered from one double bogey on No. 9 to finish the first round at 36-34â€”70.
â€śI hit the ball really well today and my putting really helped me out,â€ť said Saunders, who recorded 28 putts during Tuesdayâ€™s round. â€śI only made one mistake and other than that I played solid golf all day.â€ť
Saunders, the grandson of golf legend and Bay Hill President Arnold Palmer, considers Bay Hill his home course.
â€śI play this course everyday, which can be good or bad for tournaments,â€ť commented Saunders. â€śItâ€™s nice having the home-course advantage because I know the course very well. However, it puts a lot more pressure on me to play well and hopefully win.
â€śI feel like the pressure is now off after todayâ€™s solid round. Hopefully I can continue to play like this the rest of the week,â€ť said the 16-year-old rising high school junior who will be celebrating his birthday on Friday while looking for his first AJGA victory. Saundersâ€™ previous best finish at an AJGA event came at the 2003 FootJoy Boys Invitational where he tied for eighth.
Palm, who took top honors at the 2004 PING Junior at Mirasol and is making his first appearance at the HP Boys Junior Championship, said he was excited with his round and glad to be near the top of the leaderboard.
â€śI wasnâ€™t expecting to be where I am (second place),â€ť remarked the 16-year-old. â€śMy short game was working for me all day. Hopefully that continues tomorrow.â€ť
The 16-year-old Jones recorded five birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey on his way to grabbing a tie for second place.
â€śToday was a pretty good day,â€ť Jones said. â€śI made a lot of putts and only made one mistake today (double bogey on No. 6).â€ť
Jones recovered nicely from his double bogey on No. 6 with a birdie on No. 7. Jones will be looking to improve on his best AJGA finish, second at the 2004 AJGA Lubbock Junior presented by United Supermarkets and Market Street.
With rounds of even-par 72, Seung-Su Han of Bradenton, Fla., Tim Cha of Chino Hills, Calif., Peter Uihlein of North Dartmouth, Mass., and Chris Smith of Alpharetta, Ga., are currently tied for fifth place following first-round action.
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.
Second-round tee times will begin Wednesday at 7 a.m. and conclude at 8:57 a.m. off of the Nos. 1 and 10 tees. For more information about the HP Boys Junior Championship, please contact tournament headquarters at (407) 876-8095.