LONG STEALS BOYS DIVISION LEAD IN JOHN DEERE CLASSIC JUNIOR OPEN
Yang breaks tie to take outright lead in Girls Division
LONG GROVE, Iowa — Jace Long, 18, of Dixon, Mo., shot a 5-under-par 67 Wednesday for a two-day total of 9-under-par 135 to take the Boys Division lead in the John Deere Classic Junior Open at Glynns Creek Golf Course. In the Girls Division, Julie Yang, 12, of Phoenix, carded a two-day total of 1-over-par 145 to take control of the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the John Deere Classic Junior Open is a 54-hole stroke-play event being held at the Glynns Creek Golf Course. The 97-player field features players from 20 states, British Columbia and China. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,955 while the Girls Division is playing at 6,181.
Long, who will be wearing black and gold for the University of Missouri next year, didn't let dense fog and light drizzle drown his chances of pulling ahead of first round leader Josh Reinertson. Long recorded seven birdies on the day, including one on No. 9, a 499-yard par-5.
“If anything, the rain made the greens softer and made it easier to go for pins,” Long said. “I feel comfortable here and I'm just building my confidence for the final round.”
The 2007 Rolex Junior All-American honorable mention is no stranger to taking a lead into the final round. He said that on Thursday, he will be trying to beat his second round score.
“I want to come out tomorrow and play the same way,” Long said. “I just want to keep playing and try to go even lower.”
Following Long in second is first-round leader, Reinertson of Gibbon, Neb., who has a two-day total of 8-under-par 136. Paul McConnell of Garland, Texas, is in third with a two-day total of 6-under-par 138. In fourth is Cody Kent of Castle Rock, Colo., with a two-day total of 5-under-par 139. Rounding out the top five is Matt Solis of Bettendorf, Iowa, who carded an even-par 142.
After round one left the Girls Division with a two way tie for first, Yang was on a mission to claim the lead as her own. The front nine proved to make that a daunting task, but with birdies on two of her final three holes, Yang was able to break away from the competition.
“I was playing poorly on the front nine and had a lot of 3-putts,” Yang said. “Now, I'm just trying to stay focused on tomorrow and not take this lead for granted.”
Second in the Girls Division is Gianna DiGrazia of Addison, Ill., with a two-day total of 4-over-par 148. Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., and Sarah Beth Davis of Victoria, Texas, round out the top three with a 5-over-par 149.
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 49 states and 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.
Final-round tee times for the John Deere Classic Junior Open will begin at 7:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Glynns Creek Golf Course. For more information on the John Deere Classic Junior Open, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (563) 285-6635.