ZHANG ZOOMS PAST PACK HEADING INTO FINAL ROUND AT NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL FINANCIAL NETWORK - BLUMBERG GROUP JUNIOR CLASSIC
Lee, Brightwell tie for Girls Division lead at Richter Park Golf Course
DANBURY, Conn. David Zhang, 18, of South Glastonbury, Conn., shot a second-round 4-under-par 68 for a tournament total 4-under-par 140 and a 3-stroke lead in the Boys Division going into Friday's final round of the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network Blumberg Group Junior Classic. Harin Lee, 15, of Bayside, N.Y., and Elizabeth Brightwell, 17, of Nellysford, Va., sit tied atop the Girls Division leaderboard at 5-over-par 149.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network Blumberg Group Junior Classic features 144 players from 20 states, two foreign countries and the District of Columbia. The field consists of 108 boys and 36 girls, ages 12-18. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 Richter Park Golf Course at 6,699 yards while the Girls Division is playing the course at 6,021.
Zhang carded one of only two under-par rounds of the day and said staying calm was key to his successful finish. He made three birdies during the round including one on the par-4 No. 6 his first hole back after a two-and-a-half hour weather delay.
Coming out [after the delay] I felt tight, but I birdied my first hole back out, Zhang said. Hopefully tomorrow I can keep the same thing going.
Going into Friday's final round, Bradley Kushner of Mendham, N.J., Mark Mumford of Rye, N.Y., and Michael Miller of Brewster, N.Y., sit tied in second place at 1-under-par 143. Matthew Ceravolo of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and Jason Zhou of Skillman, N.J., sit tied in fifth at 1-over-par 145.
In the Girls Division, Lee admitted that her round could have been better, but was pleased with how she recovered from bad shots. She carded birdies on Nos. 9, 10 and 16 en route to her 4-over-par 76.
I hit a really bad drive [on No. 10], but I punched it out from under a tree on the right side of the fairway onto the green and made my birdie putt, Lee said. I scrambled pretty well.
Brightwell set herself up well, shooting even-par 36 on the front nine and making unexpected putts. By avoiding big numbers, Brightwell improved her score by one stroke from the first round, and shot a 2-over-par 74.
I didn't make any ginormous numbers out there today, so that definitely helped my score, Brightwell said. I made a long slider on No. 6 for birdie that I didn't expect to, which was also nice.
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 final round of the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network Blumberg Group Junior Classic is Friday, August 8 with tee times running off Nos. 1 and 10 tee from 7 8:39 a.m. and Noon 1:39 p.m. at Richter Park Golf Course. For more information about the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network Blumberg Group Junior Classic, please contact Tournament Director Lauren Shelly at (770) 298-4411