HEAVY TRAFFIC ON TOP AT THE BUICK JUNIOR OPEN PRESENTED BY GOLFWEEK
Johnson leads Girls Division by two strokes
GRAND BLANC, Mich. â€” Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc, Mich., Matt Thompson of Battle Creek, Mich., and Eric Johannsen of Naples, Fla., all carded 4-under-par 68s to lead the field after a wet first round of the Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek. In the Girls Division, Emily Johnson of Warsaw, Ind., leads the field by two strokes after firing a 1-over-par 73.
The Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek is a 54-hole tournament presented by the American Junior Golf Association at Flint Elks Lodge 222 in Grand Blanc, Mich. The 99-player field boasts 75 boys and 24 girls from 22 states and Canada.
Facing the remains of a stormy evening Mack, Thompson and Johannsen all used the wet conditions and soft greens to their advantage as they fired at the flag collecting 15 birdies between them. Mack, who was the leader after the first round of last year's Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek and winner of last week's Flint City Amateur, is looking to continue the recent success he has experienced and build momentum for the rest of the summer.
â€śI hit the ball really well and was able to make a lot of putts for birdie today,â€ť said Mack. â€śOverall, my game is a lot more consistent this year.â€ť
Johannsen, who finished the front nine 1-over-par, turned it on to fire 5-under-par on the back nine. Thompson, who is coming off a win last week at the Coca-Cola Junior Championships at Boyne Highlands, used a consistent round of 2-under-par on each side to reach 68 on the day.
Sitting alone in fourth-place with a 3-under-par 69 is Joseph Smith of Champaign, Ill., while Billy McKay of Grand Blanc, Mich., Tanner Murphy of Columbus, Ohio, and Philip Snow of Northville, Mich., all carded 1-under-par 71s, putting them in fifth place.
In the Girls Division, Johnson, who was in the first group of the morning, fought through the wet conditions on her way to firing 1-over-par to collect a two-stroke lead on the field.
â€śI didn't strike the ball as well as I wanted to,â€ť said Johnson. â€śI still had a nice even round, but I feel I can shoot a lot lower if I strike the ball well.â€ť
In second place is 2004 Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek champion, Dolores White of Lakeland, Fla., after firing a 3-over-par 75. Sarah Beth Davis of Victoria, Texas, and Amiee Neff of Carmel, Ind., sit tied for third with first-round performances of 4-over-par 76.
The Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek has a storied history of producing champions who have gone on to have successful professional careers. Past champions include such notables as Kelly Robbins (1986), Phil Mickelson (1987, 88), Joe Ogilvie (1992), Jenny Chuasiriporn (1994), Paula Creamer (2001, 02), and Morgan Pressel (2003).
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 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, 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
Second-round action will begin Thursday, July 13 with a 7 a.m. start off the No. 1 tee. For more information about the Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek please call tournament headquarters at (678) 315-3446.