MURRAY AND WADKINS SIT ATOP THE BOYS LEADERBOARD AT THE JUNIOR ALL-STAR AT PETERSBURG
Ahn has comfortable lead at The Country Club of Petersburg
PETERSBURG, Va. — Grayson Murray of Raleigh, N.C., and Tucker Wadkins of Dallas, top the Boys leaderboard after shooting 5-under-par 67 first-round totals at the Junior All-Star at Petersburg. In the Girls Division, Michelle Ahn of Chapel Hill, N.C., carded a 3-under-par 69 to land the lead Tuesday.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Petersburg is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at The Country Club of Petersburg. The 93-player field features juniors from 26 states and Belgium. The course is being played at 6,778 yards in the Boys Division and 5,924 yards in the Girls Division.
Murray started strong, with three birdies on the first four holes, which he said set the tone for the day. If he missed the green, Murray said that he still managed to get up and down for par. He finished with a bogey-free round and five birdies.
“I had a lot of opportunities today — like putts that were right on the edge but didn't drop,” he said. “Tomorrow, I have to hit the ball like I did today. I have to keep giving myself opportunities, and it will come.”
Murray has played in and won a number of events in his hometown and beyond, but this is the 13-year-old's AJGA debut.
“At the start of the summer, I was playing good golf, but I wasn't where I wanted to be,” he added. “I've worked to step up my game and perform well. I just want to finish at the top of this tournament.”
Also in front, Wadkins said he struggled through the first part of his round. But he birdied Nos. 6 and 7 and then made a 35-foot putt from the fringe of No. 8 green to save par. He changed his mindset as he headed into the back nine, he said.
“I decided to hit the ball hard, and that worked pretty well,” Wadkins said. “The harder I hit, the straighter the ball went. I can't look back on the day and say I left any shots out there.”
Wadkins went on to birdie Nos. 9, 10 and 11 and close his round with six birdies total.
“I feel excited about tomorrow,” Wadkins said. “I've just got to play two more solid rounds and not hold back.”
Also in the Boys Division, Robert Register of Burlington, N.C., Larry Han of Raleigh, and Bryce Chalkley of Chester, Va., are packed in third place just two shots off the lead.
Ahn, who's playing her fourth and last AJGA event of the summer, said she's become a stronger player this summer. She's finished in the top five twice and once in the top 15.
“I've been playing really well this summer,” Ahn said. “I just hope it keeps going well. I went into a slump before this summer. I started practicing with my driver more and it paid off.”
She made the turn bogey-free, with two birdies. On the back side, Ahn had four birdies in a row — Nos. 12 through 15.
“I tried to play it smart and club up if there was a bunker,” she said. “There was a lot of wind out there, but it was a pretty good round.”
Kaitlyn Rohrback of Crofton, Md., sits in second place after shooting a 1-over-par 73. In third place is Tessa The of Los Altos, Calif., who recorded a 2-over-par 74 Tuesday.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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 AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
Second-round tee times will start at 7 a.m. off the No. 1 tee. For more information about the Junior All-Star at Petersburg, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (804) 733-4451.