NELSON, WANG CO-LEADERS AT DUNLOP CAROLINA JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Mollica posts eagle on No. 6, finishes round in lead with a 3-under-par 69
GREENVILLE, S.C. — Strong putting jump-started Catherina Wang of Orlando, Fla., and Brittany Nelson of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The two girls, who competed against each other last week at the Rolex Girls Junior Championship, finished tied for the lead after the first round with 68s. Leading the Boys Division at 3-under-par is Phillip Mollica of Anderson, S.C.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Dunlop Carolina Junior Championship is being held at the Green Valley Country Club. Ninety-nine junior golfers from 20 states, including 20 from South Carolina, and Peru, are competing in the 54-hole stroke play event.
Nelson hit 14 fairways and had six birdies, beginning with the first hole.
“It gave me some cushion starting out,” she said.
She said three more birdies on Nos. 13, 14 and 16 kept her comfortable and gave her a chance to finish the back nine 3-under-par 33.
As a co-leader, Wang returns to Greenville in a position to reclaim her 2004 Dunlop Carolina Junior Championship title.
“I was hoping to stay under par,” she said. “On the back nine, I gave myself more opportunities to make putts and I hit my irons closer.”
Wang finished the day with five birdies and one bogey.
Finishing third in the Girls Division at 2-under-par 70 was Blair Lamb of Flat Rock, N.C.
Mollica finished at the top of the Boys Division with a 3-under-par 69. An eagle on No. 6 and birdies on Nos. 1 and 7 gave Mollica enough breathing room for one bogey on the front nine to make the turn with a 33. He was able to offset a double bogey on No. 12 with two birdies on Nos. 16 and 17 to finish the back nine on par with a 36.
“I felt more confident today,” said Mollica, who has committed to play for Clemson. “Tomorrow, I want to go out and play like I did today.”
Patrick Rada, also of Anderson, S.C., finished in second place with a 2-under-par 70. Tied for third with 1-under-par 71s are: Daniel Burns of Statesville, N.C., Luke Hopkins of Greer, S.C., Mu Hu of Shen Zhen, China, Nathan Spoon of Graham, N.C., and Wes Roach of Knoxville, Tenn.
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, the largest Association of its kind, has a junior 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.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 160 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 300 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
The second round of the tournament begins Wednesday at 7 a.m. The girls tee off first followed by the boys at 8:12 a.m. Tee times run through 11:48 a.m. For more information about the Dunlop Carolina Junior Championship, call tournament headquarters at (864) 246-3941.