BELCHER, WRIGHT LEADERS ENTERING FINAL ROUND OF AJGA ANDOVER OPEN
Juniors hope to keep up momentum, confidence to capture tournament victories
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kellye Belcher of Bartlett, Tenn., started the day off not feeling well, but overcame what she said may have been a slight case of nerves as she enters the final round as the two-day Girls Division leader posting a 70-70—140. Chase Wright of Muncie, Ind., shot a 2-under-par 70, 138 for the tournament, to remain leading the Boys Division at the AJGA Andover Open.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Andover Open is being held at the Andover Golf & Country Club. Ninety-nine junior golfers from 16 states, 25 from Kentucky, are competing in the 54-hole stroke-play event.
Belcher said her iron shots were not landing as close to the hole as she would have liked, but she was able to sink some long putts to stay under par.
“It was more nerve-wracking today,” she said. “I hope I can play like I played the past two days and not think about the score.”
Brianna Do of Lakewood, Calif., enters the final round second in the Girls Division with a 2-under-par 142. In third place at 3-over-par 147 is Candace Schepperle of Hoover, Ala.
A late afternoon thunderstorm delayed play for 1 hour, 47 minutes, but did not phase Wright as he was able to pick up where he left off on No. 15 by making a 5-foot putt for par when play resumed. Wright said he had his best drive of the tournament on No. 16. and shot par the rest of the way into the scoring tent.
“I started a little shaky. I was one over after the first seven holes, but then eagled eight,” he said.
His eagle on No. 8, followed by birdie on No. 9, put Wright at 2-under-par for the front nine. After the turn, he made par on every hole.
“I was able to walk up to the ball all day and know I could hit it where I wanted to,” he said. “I played better after the rain delay. Tomorrow, I want to try not to make any mistakes.”
In second place, three strokes behind Wright are Alex Volpenhein of Edgewood, Ky., and Steven Drake of Findlay, Ohio, tied at 3-under-par 141. With a 2-under-par 142, in fourth place, is Thomas Buran of Scottsdale, Ariz. Tied for fifth with 1-under-par 143s are Joseph Barr of Versailles, Ky., Kent Bulle of Glasgow, Ky., and Sang Chun of Winter Springs, Fla.
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.
Final-round tee times will begin Thursday at 7 a.m. The boys will tee off first followed by the girls from 10:00 to 11:03 a.m.. The five leader groups of boys are scheduled from 11:12 to 11:48 a.m.
For more information about the AJGA Andover Open, call tournament headquarters at (859) 263-4335.