ILLINOIS NATIVES CAPTURE MEDALIST HONORS IN GRAND BLANC
Smith shoots bogey-free round of 69
Grand Blanc, Mich. — Joseph Smith of Champaign, Ill., fired a 3-under-par 69 to take medalist honors in the Boys Division at the Srixon Qualifier for the Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek. Eleanor Costello of Wilmette, Ill., carded a 3-over-par 75 to claim the top spot in the Girls Division.
The 18-hole event, part of the Srixon Qualifier Series, was conducted by the American Junior Golf Association at Flint Elks Lodge 222 Golf Club and featured 90 players from 13 states and Canada.
Smith's round of 69 featured a 34 on the front nine and a 35 on the back side. The 15-year-old carded three birdies and no bogeys, which he attributed to solid putting.
“I felt like I putted really well today,” Smith said. “I didn't have any three-putts. I hit close approaches and the greens were rolling nicely.”
Smith's feel for the greens was apparent on the par-4 14th hole. Smith hit his tee shot into the trees and punched out to 70 feet from the hole, just off the green. He drained the putt for birdie, which gave him a boost of confidence heading to the final holes.
Also qualifying in the Boys Division was Nicholas Marshall of Grand Ledge, Mich., with a 1-under-par 71. Tyler Graf of Elm Grove, Wis., Ryan Peters of Destrehan, La., Sam Burman of Haslett, Mich., each qualified with even-par 72s, while Zachary Kozuchowski of Fraser, Mich., Bryan Blake of Westerville, Ohio, and Steve Schmid of Pewaukee, Wis., made it in with 1-over-par 73s. Qualifying with 2-over-par 74s were Jacob Meyerrose of Carmel, Ind., and Michael Leibfried of Rolling Hills, Calif., while Alex Feld of Winnetka, Ill., Dustin Mullens of Emporium, Pa., and Stewart Jamieson of Worthington, Ohio, qualified with 3-over par 75s. Jordan Lesansky of Lesalle, Ontario, Eric Carnacchi of Dearborn, Mich., and Jacob Erisman of Golden, Colo., made it in with 4-over-par 76s. Aaron Ebert of Huron, Ohio, and J.D. Pascany of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who each shot 5-over-par 77s, qualified after surviving a four-hole playoff.
Brent Quade of Monroe, Wis., Matthew Stauch of Dublin, Ohio, Nicholas Carbary of Kalamazoo, Mich., Doug Underwood of Stow, Ohio, Richard Lamb of South Bend, Ind., Johnny Burke of Westlake, Ohio, Aaron Fitzpatrick of Windermere, Fla., Stephen DeMare of West Bloomfield, Mich., and Brandon Wenger of Indianapolis, Ind., each qualified but opted to take a Tournament Exemption toward their Performance Based Entry Status in lieu of playing in this week's event.
Costello also contributed her solid round to good putting. Her 75 consisted of a 40 on the front nine and a 35 on the back side with four birdies on the day. The 18-year-old got off to a rough start with a bogey on her first hole, but fought back to make birdie on the par-3 17th, her second hole. Costello dominated the par-3s, making birdies on three of the five.
“I made a lot of 15-foot putts today, which really helped,” Costello said. “For the tournament I'm looking to keep it together and put some good rounds out.”
Five additional players qualified in the Girls Division. Ashley Smith of Plymouth, Mich., Amy Meier of Rochester Hills, Mich., and Lindsay Salsburg of Navarre, Ohio, each shot 7-over-par 79s to qualify. Katie Rogner of Fowler, Mich., qualified with an 8-over-par 80 and Sarah Nirenberg of West Bloomfield, Mich., survived a one-hole playoff to qualify after shooting a 9-over-par 81.
Kristen Becker of Columbus, Ohio, Shannon Warner of Livonia, Mich., and Margaret Pentrack of Pittsburgh, Pa., each qualified but opted to take a Tournament Exemption toward their Performance Based Entry Status in lieu of playing in this week's event.
The Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek will begin on Wednesday, July 13, with tee times starting at 7 a.m. off No. 1.
SRIXON Sports USA, Inc., based in Norcross, Ga., has been distributing premium golf balls and equipment in the U.S. since 1997 and is a subsidiary of SRI Sports. SRI Sports is one of the world's leading patent holders in golf ball technology and manufactures several golf balls played in the United States. SRI Sports-made balls have won 73 PGA TOUR events since 1989, including seven majors. For more information about SRIXON, please visit www.srixon.com.
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 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 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.
For more information about the Buick Junior Open presented by Golfweek, contact tournament headquarters at (810) 743-0730.