O’CONNELL LEADS BY ONE AFTER FIRING SECOND-ROUND 67
Granada and Grilli share lead in Girls Division
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – Kevin O’Connell of Cary, N.C., took advantage of the early morning conditions and avoided the weather as he fired a 5-under-par 67 Wednesday and took sole possession of first place after the first two rounds of the AJGA Richmond Junior in the Boys Division.
Julieta Granada of Asuncion, Paraguay, and Michelle Grilli of Lutherville, Md., are deadlocked atop the leaderboard in the Girls Division at 3-under-par 141.
The AJGA Richmond Junior is a 54-stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The tournament features 99 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-18, from 18 states, Canada and Paraguay. Highlighting the field is Rolex Junior All-Americans Brian Belden of Emmaus, Pa., Taylor Bunnell of Germantown, Tenn., Stephanie Connelly of Pasadena, Md., and Granada. In 2004, Granada has already claimed victory at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, the Randall Parker Shootout at Fieldstone and the U.S. Girls Amateur.
After playing consistent golf through the front-nine, O’Connell made the turn at even-par for the day. Immediately making birdie on the 389-yard par 4 No. 10, O’Connell caught fire. Five total birdies on the back-nine, including a stretch where he made four of five on Nos. 13-17, enabled him to take a 36-hole total of 7-under-par into the final day.
“I got on a role on the back-nine,” said the 16-year-old O’Connell. “I wanted to shoot a 33 on the back and got a 31. I’m happy with that.”
O’Connell also hit 16 of 18 greens in regulation and had six one-putts on the back-nine.
“Every time I gave myself a chance I made the putt,” said O’Connell, who is vying for his first AJGA open event title. His lone AJGA victory came last year at the Nike Golf Junior at Jacksonville.
Right on O’Connell’s tail is Belden, who also shot a 5-under-par 67 Wednesday and sits only one stroke back with a 6-under-par 138.Timothy Courtney of Midlothian, Va., is in third at 3-under-par 141 and Timothy Kelly of Staten Island, N.Y., is in fourth at 2-under-par 142.Eric LeFante of Colts Neck, N.J., and Chris Rockwell of Owings Mills, Md., round out the top-5.
Coming off a first-round 4-under-par 68, Granada played steady golf with 13 pars on the round and shot a 1-over-par 73.
“I’m not really happy with my play today, but I‘m going to work on it tonight and try to get everything better for tomorrow,” Granada said.
Entering the second round tied for fifth, Grilli fired a 3-under-par 69 to vault her to the top of the leaderboard and a share of the lead. Her second-round low score included an eagle on the 509-yard par-5, 17th hole.
“I shot an 8-iron and it landed behind the hole and just rolled down the hill and in,” Grilli said. “I’m pretty happy with my round overall.”
Rounding out the top-3 in the Girls Division is Kimberly Donovan of Hopkinton, Mass., who fired a second-round 72, bringing her tournament two-day total to 1-under-par 143.
Play was suspended on two different occasions due to weather in the afternoon for a combined total of 2 hours and 32 minutes.
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 AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
The final-round of the AJGA Richmond Junior will take place Thursday at Salisbury Country Club beginning at off the No. 1 tee. For more information about the AJGA Richmond Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (804) 794-8255.
The American Junior Golf Foundation is the primary recipient of all charitable giving to the AJGA and as such administers a variety of programs designed to compliment the AJGA and the members and families who make up our community. Learn more about these important programs and how your contributions to the Foundation secure the AJGA’s financial future for future generations to come.
The Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program provides financial assistance to junior golfers who wish to play in AJGA events. Its goal is to give top-flight golf opportunities to young golfers regardless of financial resources. This program helps to fulfill the AJGA’s mission of developing young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf.
What is Leadership Links?
Leadership Links is a new program whereby the AJGA is able to further its mission to help develop young men and women by teaching charitable giving skills and service-oriented practices at an early age. This program gives juniors all the tools necessary to donate their time, talent and resources to local charities and the AJGA youth development programs. Please click here to learn more about the program and the different opportunities available.
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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.