KNEBELS LEADS PACK BY ONE STROKE AT BURGETT H. MOONEY, JR. ROME CLASSIC
Piccio, Keith tie for Girls Division lead at 5-under-par at Coosa Country Club
ROME, Ga. — Georgia native, Logan Knebels of Alpharetta, carded a 3-under-par 67 to lead the Boys Division by one stroke after Tuesday's opening round of play at the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic at Coosa Country Club. In the Girls Division, Anna Keith of Moultrie, Ga., and Maria Piccio of Bradenton, Fla., both shot 5-under-par 66s to lead the pack.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic features 99 players from 18 states and South America. The field consists of 75 boys and 24 girls, ages 12-18. The Boys Division is playing Coosa Country Club as a par-70 at 6,783 yards, while the Girls Division is playing it as a par-71 at 6,036 yards.
Knebels, 17, comes into the tournament seeking his first AJGA victory and a boost to a slow start this summer.
“My summer hasn't been going well,” Knebels said. “So, I am just trying to play well, shoot under-par rounds and stay in contention.”
Knebels' solid wedge and iron play allowed him to make close putts all day. He carded birdies on Nos. 4, 6, 12, 15 and 18.
“No. 18 was my best hole,” Knebels said. “It was a long hole, but I was able to hit my pitching wedge and the ball landed within three feet of the hole so I could putt in for birdie.”
Tied for second place at 2-under-par 68 are Tyler Mitchell of Cadiz, Ky., and Anders Albertson of Woodstock, Ga. Rounding out the top-5 on the leaderboard are Clark Palmer of Augusta, Ga., Sean Hassell of Walhalla, S.C., Ryan Gambrell of Acworth, Ga., and Tyler Smith of Fayetteville, Ga. who all finished the day at 1-under-par 69.
In the Girls Division, putting was the key for both Piccio and Keith. Piccio, who recently set a new AJGA Girls Division margin-of-victory record, made six birdies including back-to-back birdies on Nos. 3 and 4, 7 and 8, and 10 and 11.
“Putting was good for me,” Piccio said. “I kept giving myself chances to make birdies and I'll do the same thing tomorrow.”
Keith, who qualified for the United States Girls' Junior Amateur yesterday, made five birdies during the round.
“I was hitting my irons really well and going at the flagstick” Keith said. “I was hitting it close enough all day.”
Sitting alone in third is Katie Burnett of Brunswick, Ga., who carded a 1-under-par 70.
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.
The second round of the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic is Wednesday, June 25 with tee times running off the first tee from 7:30 a.m. — 12:50 p.m. at Coosa Country Club. For more information about the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (770) 601-5196.