MONTE, KABASAKALIS TAKE EARLY LEADS WITH CONSISTENT PLAY
Rising juniors tackle heat and hills during Fidelity Investments Junior Classic
BOYLSTON, Mass. — Joe Monte of Chantilly, Va., was the only player in the entire tournament field at the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic to shoot under-par as he carded a 3-under-par 69. Mia Kabasakalis of Alameda, Calif., leads the Girls Division with a 1-over-par 73 after the first round.
The Fidelity Investments Junior Classic, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, is being held at the Cyprian Keyes Golf Club. Eighty-four junior golfers from 19 states, British Columbia and Ontario, including 18 participants from Massachusetts, are competing in the 54-hole stroke play event.
Monte, who tied a course record at the 2005 U.S. Junior Amateur last week, said he has been playing consistent lately. He said he had a strong start off the No. 10 tee with two birdies and an eagle in his first nine holes. He was at 5-under-par through 13 holes, but had a double bogey on No. 5 and bogeyed No. 6. He shot par on Nos. 7 and 8 and finished the round on No. 9 with a birdie to remain 3-under-par. Although excited to be in the lead, Monte said it is harder to hang on to the lead than to come from behind.
“I'm going to go out tomorrow and think to myself, ‘I didn't do well yesterday. It's a tough course, and I have to make up some ground,'” he said. “That way, you never give up.”
In second place at even par are John Powers of Bowling Green, Ohio, Ren Han of Richmond, British Columbia, and Bennett Klaus of Edmond, Okla. With a 1-over-par 73 and tied for fifth place are: Tyler Morris of Encinitas, Calif., and Daniel Mayer of Winter Park, Fla.
Claiming an early lead in the Girls Division, Kabasakalis said straight shots down the fairway kept her out of the hazards and feeling like she could have shot a lower score. She hit 14 greens and nearly had a hole-in-one on the par-3 No. 16.
“I doubled No. 15. On No. 16, I wanted to swing smooth, and then I heard clapping,” she said.
Making short 7- and 8-foot putts helped her end the day confident she could improve on her four birdies during the first-round.
“I've been hitting pretty consistently,” she said. “If you hit straight and hit as many greens as possible, you're bound to make a couple putts.”
One stroke behind Kabasakalis in second place is Bethany Leclair of Scottsdale, Ariz., and tied for third with 4-over-par 76s are Brittany Altomare of Shrewsbury, Mass., Lala Anai of Belmont, Mass., and Meredith Kotowski of Marion, Mass.
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.
Second-round tee times will start Wednesday from 7:30 - 9:27 a.m. off of Nos. 1 and 10. Boys will start from No. 1, and No. 10 from 7:30 — 8:24 a.m.; girls on No. 10 from 8:33 — 9:27 a.m.
For more information about the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic, call tournament headquarters at (508) 869-9900.