YATES LEADS AT 8-UNDER-PAR, EXTENDS LEAD TO FIVE SHOTS AT RICHMOND
Lee and Ekey tied at 1-under-par in Girls Division
MIDLOTHIAN, Va. â€” Preston Yates of Winston-Salem, N.C., recorded a second-consecutive sub-par round to take a five-shot lead at 8-under-par 65-71â€”136 at the AJGA Richmond Junior. Yu Lee of Orlando, Fla., and Kathleen Ekey of Wadsworth, Ohio, share the lead in the Girls Division at 1-under par and look to capture their first AJGA crown.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AGJA Richmond Junior is a 54-hole stroke-play event that features 99 players, 78 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18 from 23 states and Canada. Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Va., home of the Virginia State Golf Association, is hosting the second-year event for the first time.
Yates, who is looking for his first AJGA victory, said he was proud of his two-round score because he has converted 11 birdies and also limited his mistakes.
â€śIt's hard to back up a low round with another low number,â€ť Yates said. â€śTomorrow I need to play as if it's even. I need to play aggressive, but be smart.â€ť
Ryan Peters of Destrehan, La., climbed into second place at 72-69â€”141 after posting a 3-under-par 69, tied for the day's lowest score. Colby Moore of Cornelius, N.C., and Myles Vlachos of Monrovia, Md., are tied for third at 142, while three players are tied for fifth at 1-under-par 143: Bradley Martin of Charlotte, N.C., Michael Slovitt of Winnetka, Ill., and Sean Goshert of Conway, S.C.
In the Girls Division, Lee and Ekey separated themselves from the field through consistency and accuracy. Lee hit all 14 fairways in her round, while Ekey hit 13 fairways and 17 greens in regulation.
â€śI hit the ball well today, and the putts will go in at some time or another,â€ť said Ekey, who is playing in her final AJGA tournament before joining the Furman University golf team. â€śI didn't have any bad putts, I just tried to stay patient because getting frustrated isn't going to help.â€ť
Lee is coming off a tie for fourth at the Las Vegas Founders Junior Golf Championship and said she was able to take advantage of the par 5s.
â€śI saw the par 5s as birdie chances because they were all playing short today,â€ť Lee said, who also parred the course's four difficult par 3s.
Cydney Clanton of Concord, N.C., will join Lee and Ekey in the final group tomorrow, after shooting a 2-under-par 70 in the second round. Her two-day total of 74-70â€”144 puts her in third place, only one shot behind the leaders.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(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 largest Association of its kind, the AJGA 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, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 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 run from 7-11:48 a.m. at the Independence Golf Club. For more information on the AJGA Richmond Junior, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (804) 897-8641, ext. 122.