FOWLER, UIHLEIN SET THE BAR FOR THE FINAL ROUND
Stanley stares down repeat performance
ORLANDO, Fla. — Rickie Fowler, 17, of Murrieta, Calif., and Peter Uihlein, 16, of Bradenton, Fla., grabbed hold of the lead in Thursday's third-round play by piercing through the field with scores of 5-under-par 211 during the HP Boys Junior Championship at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the HP Boys Junior Championship is a 72-hole event held at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge, home of the PGA TOUR's Arnold Palmer Invitational. Past champions of the event include Tiger Woods (1992), David Duval (1989), and Jim Furyk (1987). The tournament features 84 boys, ages 14-18, from 23 states and Colombia. The field includes 24 Rolex Junior All-Americans.
After finishing Wednesday's second-round play with only four strokes separating the two, Fowler and Uihlein finished third-round play with a two-stroke lead over the competition. With both being Rolex Junior All-Americans, each are looking for their first AJGA major victory this year.
Carding scores of 71-70-70—211, Uihlein hit eight fairways, 10 greens and made 27 putts in the third round and explained that his short game was the focus of his round.
“I scrambled for par a lot today to save my score,” Uihlein said. “I had confidence in my putter the whole round.”
Going into the final round, Uihlein is focusing on a safer round.
“(Friday), I'm going to play it safer off the tee and I want to hit the fairways and greens consistently,” Uihlein said.
Finishing third-round play tied for 10th, Fowler turned in a score of 35-31—66 and knew he had to bring his best game out for the rest of the week.
“I knew I was safe from the cut, but had to come out strong in the last two rounds,” Fowler said. “I knew I had to get it under par.”
Making 26 third-round putts, Fowler used his short game to vault atop the leader board.
“I felt confident with my short putts and my stroke,” Fowler said. “If you know you are hitting the ball well, then you will take advantage of it and that's what I did.”
Defending champion, Kyle Stanley of Gig Harbor, Wash., turned in a score of 213 to stand alone in third place. Tied for fourth with scores of 214 are Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, Bud Cauley of Jacksonville, Fla., and Andrew Yun of Tacoma, Wash. Going into the final round tied for seventh are Alexander Sitompul of Bradenton, Fla., and John Popeck of Washington, Pa., both with 215s. Included in a three-way tie for ninth-place honors are Bennett Klaus of Edmond, Okla., Drew Ernst of Seneca, S.C., and John Peterson of Fort Worth, Texas, with scores of 216.
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 an annual 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 is in 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 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.
Final-round tee times begin at 7 a.m. Friday off the No. 1 tee at Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club & Lodge. For more information on the HP Boys Junior Championship, please contact tournament headquarters at (407) 876-8048.