UIHLEIN FIRES 68 TO BUILD TWO-SHOT LEAD IN PALM HARBOR
Four players sit atop Girls Division leaderboard at First American Title Junior Classic
PALM HARBOR, Fla. â€” Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., sits at 3-under-par after firing rounds of 71-68 â€” 139, giving him a two-shot lead in the Boys Division at the First American Title Junior Classic. Four players sit atop the Girls Division at 151, including Dolores White of Lakeland, Fla., Andrea Messer of Belleair, Fla., Michelle Shin of Cape Coral, Fla., and Whitney Wenglasz of Oldsmar, Fla.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the First American Title Junior Classic features 84 players, 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18 from 15 states. The Westin Innisbrook Golf Resort â€” Copperhead Course, which is home to the PGA TOUR Chrysler Championship, is hosting the 54-hole stroke play event for the first time.
With four birdies and one bogey on the day, Uihlein recorded the tournament's lowest score en route to claiming the lead after 36 holes.
â€śTomorrow I want to hit a lot of fairways and greens. I just want to play smart tomorrow,â€ť said Uihlein, who has three top-five finishes on the year.
Mike Stern of Miami, Fla., is the only other player under par for the tournament and will enter the final round two shots behind at 72-69 â€” 141. Nicholas Smith of Ocala, Fla., and first-round leader Toby Ragland of Jacksonville, Fla., sit in a tie for third at 145, while Carlos Velez of Miami, Fla., sits in fifth at 146, seven shots behind Uihlein.
In the tight Girls Division, the cluster of leaders includes the defending champion, first-round leader, and the tournament's Srixon Qualifier medalist.
White hit 11 of 14 fairways and recorded 15 pars in her round of 74, the lowest second-round score in the Girls Division.
â€śI need to keep hitting fairways and greens, and eventually some putts will fall,â€ť White said after shooting rounds of 77-74 â€” 151. â€śDefending a title is exciting, and anytime you're near home, it's important.â€ť
Messer, the Srixon Qualifier medalist, relied on a sound short game en route to her second-round 74, and despite earning medalist honors on Sunday, recognizes the difference in the two courses.
â€śI gained confidence at the qualifier, but I knew the courses are a lot different,â€ť Messer said, citing the length disparity as the main difference.
Shin jump-started her round with eight pars on her front nine and closed with a second-round 77, while Wenglasz used birdies on two par-3s to carry her to a 78 on Wednesday. Evan Jensen of Belleair, Fla., sits in fifth and is still in the hunt at 78-77-155, only four shots behind.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(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 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, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.
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 280 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.
Final-round tee-times will run from 7:30-9:27 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at The Westin Innisbrook Golf Resort â€” Copperhead Course. For more information on the First American Title Junior Classic, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (727) 942-2000, ext. 2760.