LODGE SETS PACE WITH A 2-OVER-PAR 146 AT THE NIKE GOLF JUNIOR AT TOFTREES
Brown hanging on to one-stroke lead in Girls Division
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -Eric Lodge of Houston, shot a 76, which, combined with a 2-under-par 70, kept him ahead in the Boys Division after two rounds. Sarah Brown of Stewartsville, N.J., remains in the lead of the Girls Division at with a two-day total of 6-over-par 150 heading into the final round at the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees is being held at the Toftrees Golf Resort & Conference Center. Ninety-one junior golfers from 18 states and Ontario, including 19 from Pennsylvania, are competing in the 54-hole stroke play event.
Playing in his last Nike Golf Junior event due to age eligibility, Lodge said he played par golf, hitting 10 fairways and seven greens. He said a sub-par final round could be what it takes to claim his first AJGA tournament victory.
“Fairways and greens,” he said about his final round strategy. “I'm going to go out there and, we'll see.”
On the front nine, Lodge was 1-over-par with two bogeys on Nos. 5 and 9, and a birdie on No. 8. On the back nine, Lodge recorded a double bogey on No. 15, bogeys on Nos. 12 and 18, and a single birdie on No. 16.
“I didn't play that great, but not that bad,” he said. “I wasn't playing well at the beginning of the summer. I've progressed a lot. I'm two over for the tournament, but this is a harder course.”
Tied at 4-over-par 148 are Anthony Aloi of Plainsboro, N.J., Andrew Glassell of Clarksville, Tenn., and John Popeck of Washington, Pa. In a three-way tie with 6-over-par 150s are Sam Jandel of Dayton, Ohio, Simon Reyers of Kingston, Ontario, and Andrew Wyatt of Lake Forest, Ill.
In the Girls Division, Brown, who tied for 12th at the 2004 Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees, has carded 75-75—150 for the tournament. She ended the second round with a double bogey on No. 15, two bogeys on Nos. 5 and 8, and a birdie on No. 17.
“I was happy to get a birdie on No. 17,” she said. “I had a good drive and second shot and made a 30-foot putt.”
To maintain her lead and win the tournament, Brown said smart play and solid putting will be crucial.
“I'm going to try not to make any bogeys and get my putts within two feet,” she said. “I left four birdie putts a foot short today.”
Molly Plomaritis of Eden, N.C., a co-leader after the first round, is one stroke behind Brown with a 151. In third after two rounds, with a 157, is fellow North Carolina native Stephanie Wagstaff of Asheville.
The Nike Golf Junior Series was created in 1998 to give younger AJGA members more opportunities to play competitive golf. This collection of events, designed for boys and girls ages 12 - 15, was a resounding success in its first year and it expanded to eight events in 2003. In 2005, there are 10 tournaments which feature three rounds of stroke play competition and a Day of Education organized by AJGA staff.
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 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.
Final-round tee times will begin off the No. 1 tee Thursday at 7 a.m. at the Toftrees Golf Resort & Conference Center. The boys will start first followed by the girls from 10:18 — 10:45 a.m., followed by the leader groups of boys from 10:54 - 11:30 a.m. For more information on the Nike Golf Junior at Toftrees, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (814) 234-8000 and ask for the AJGA.