MCCULLUM INCREASES LEAD GOING INTO THE FINAL ROUND AT PENN STATE GOLF COURSE - BLUE COURSE
Murray and McKinnon hold co-lead in the Girls Division at the Junior All-Star at Penn State
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Constant rain was not enough to stop Taylor McCullum of Hoover, Ala., who leads the Junior All-Star at Penn State for the second straight day after carding a second-round even-par 72 Wednesday. He holds a two-stroke lead at 3-under-par 141 going into Thursday's final round. Brogan McKinnon of Mississauga, Ontario, and Lindsey Murray of Tipp City, Ohio, who share lead the Girls Division with a two-round total of 6-over-par 150.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Junior All-Star at Penn State is a 54-hole stroke-play event with a 36-hole cut being held at Penn State Golf Course — Blue Course. The field is made up of 104 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-15, from 24 states, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 course at 6,589 yards and the Girls Division is playing at 5,963 yards.
McCullum, who started on No. 10, finished his round strong with eight pars and a birdie on the front nine. Although he struggled a bit with his putting, he hit 16 greens in regulation, improving from 13 in Tuesday's first round.
“I didn't hit many fairways, but I made a lot of good lag putts,” McCullum said. “The course played a little longer because of the rain, but if I can put together my putting and ball striking, tomorrow will be a good day.”
Two strokes back in second is Matthew Ross of Hartland, Wis., at 1-under-par 143. Tied for third at 1-over-par 145 are Eric Edwards of Salisbury, N.C., Jonathan Gerrard of Highland Park, Ill., and Alec Tahy of Dayton, Ohio.
Murray led after the first round and shot a second-round 6-over-par 78 to stay atop the leaderboard.
“My ball striking wasn't very good on my first nine, and I wasn't hitting the ball as solid as yesterday,” Murray said. “I had some good putts and got up and down to keep me at a good number. I played well around the greens and made a lot of good birdie and par putts, so if I can just get my ball striking back on I'll be fine.”
McKinnon handled the rain well, hitting the ball far to make birdies on two par-5s and two additional birdies on par-4 holes to card a second-round 3-over-par 75.
“I played better yesterday, but I scrambled today and everything pulled together,” McKinnon said. “I tried not to let the rain affect me. I could hit it closer because the greens were soft, and I tried to use that to my advantage.”
Just outside of the lead in third are Jennifer Peng of San Diego, and Vivian Tsui of Markham, Ontario, at 7-over-par 151. 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 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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 Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series is a collection of nine events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12-15 and presents opportunities for younger members to develop their skills and earn entry into Open tournaments. Juniors are limited to a maximum combination of five AJGA Open and Junior All-Star Series events during a calendar year. The series concludes with the Montverde Academy Junior All-Star Invitational over Columbus Day weekend for winners and top finishers in the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series events.
Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy, a full-time junior golf training and development program, enters its first year as an Official Partner of the AJGA. The partnership features an endowment of an Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant and the naming rights to the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy Junior All-Star Series, which will provide juniors access to national competitive golf opportunities.
Final-round tee times for the Junior All-Star at Penn State will run 7 — 8:48 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Penn State Golf Course — Blue Course. For more information contact Tournament Headquarters at (814) 865-4653.