BACK SHOOTS 68 TO TAKE CONTROL OF FIRST ROUND
Matthews, Park and Wenglasz tie for first in Girls Division
Long Grove, Iowa -James Back of La Habra, Calif., carded a 4-under-par 68 to put himself in the lead of the Boys Division after the first round of the Nike Golf Junior at Quad Cities on Wednesday. In the Girls Division, Alisha Matthews of St. Louis, Mo., In-Ah Park of Las Vegas, Nev., and Whitney Wenglasz of Oldsmar, Fla., are tied for first place after shooting 2-over-par 74s.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior at Quad Cities is a 54-hole stroke play being event held at Glynns Creek Golf Course. The tournament features 65 boys and 17 girls from 20 states, Mexico and Canada. The Nike Golf Junior All-Star series allows players ages 12-15 to develop their skills and earn entry into other AJGA tournaments.
Back's 68 consisted of a 33 on the front side and a 35 on the back nine. Back believed the par 5 holes played short which helped him birdie Nos. 7 and 9 en route to four birdies overall. Back's steady iron shots and putting also helped him shoot a low score.
“I felt that the par 5's were good today because I could reach the green easily and was able to birdie two of them,” Back said. “I wasn't trying to hit the ball hard, I was just trying to keep my shots straight.”
Jordan McLaurin of Ironton, Mo., and Wilson Bowen of Winnetka, Ill., are tied for second place with 3-under-par 69s. Tied for fourth place with 2-under-par 70s are Joseph Smith of Champaign, Ill., and Aidan Javed of Laurinburg, N.C.
In the Girls Division, putting and hitting greens and fairways was the key to success for Matthews, Park and Wenglasz. Matthews felt that hitting greens and fairways helped her score, while Park relied on her putting skills to put her in a good position after the first round. Wenglasz had a chip-in for birdie on hole No. 13 and ended her round with another birdie on No. 18.
“I felt good about my round today, but I did struggle on the front nine,” Wenglasz said. “I just hope to play my game again tomorrow and remain positioned in the Top 3.”
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 a junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
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 Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.
For more information about the Nike Golf Junior at Quad Cities, call tournament headquarters at (563) 285-6635.