ROBINSON CARDS SIX BIRDIES, ONE EAGLE EN ROUTE TO 6-UNDER-PAR 66
Yang, Yam both tied for Girls Division lead at 2-over-par 74
LOMPOC, Calif. — Bobby Lee Robinson of Mesa, Ariz., gained the first-round lead in the Boys Division after firing a 6-under-par 66 at the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia Ranch Tuesday. Michelle Yang of Los Angeles, Calif., and Jamie Yam of San Diego, both shot 2-over-par 74s and are tied atop the Girls Division leaderboard heading into the second round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia Ranch is being played at the Marshallia Ranch Golf Course. Seventy-six boys and 21 girls, ages 12 — 15, are competing on the par-72 layout. Six states and four countries are represented this week, including players from Canada, China, South Korea and Taiwan.
The Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia Ranch is part of the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series. The Series is a collection of 10 events specifically designed for boys and girls ages 12 - 15 years old. The Series concludes with an invitation-only Nike Golf Junior Championship, Sept. 1 - 3, 2006.
Robinson hit 16 greens and only had 25 putts in his round. Throughout the day, the 14-year-old was not paying attention to much else other than the shot at hand.
“I really didn't know my score until [my playing partners] told me what I shot in the scoring tent,” Robinson said.
The mood was relaxed for Robinson, who began the tournament with a goal to “just have fun.” Three birdies on the front nine were a catalyst to an eagle on the par-5 No. 12 and three more birdies on the back nine.
“I come into every tournament thinking I can win,” Robinson said. “I really wanted to put up a good number.”
Robinson leads by four strokes over Jian Wei Ye of Shen Zhen, China, Jeffrey Hsiao of San Diego, Zeyu He of Reunion, Fla., Byeong-hun An of Seongnam, South Korea, and Rak Cho of Los Angeles, all are tied for second after posting 2-under-par 70s.
In the Girls Division, Yam drew upon a lesson she received from her mental coach to putt well and shoot 74 for the first-round lead.
“My coach told me, ‘Every time you putt you have to tell yourself there's no way you can miss this putt no matter what,'” Yam said.
The thought stuck with Yam throughout her round, and it showed when she birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 13. These mental reminders give her confidence heading into the second round.
“I keep telling myself that I can do this,” Yam said. “I've done it before, why can't I do it again?”
Yam is tied with Yang for the lead, who shot a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine. A chip-in birdie on No. 2 gave her momentum for the rest of the round.
“I was feeling good because I've been playing well,” Yang said.
The 13-year-old used pinpoint drives to keep her round together, but Yang noted there were areas for improvement.
“My irons and putting weren't great, but my drives were always in the fairway, and I managed to save par,” she said.
Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., Nabeelah Mohideen of San Diego, Beth Sellers of Bonita, Calif., and Ani Gulugian of Irvine, Calif., all sit in a tie for third after each posted 4-over-par 76s.
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 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 is in 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
The second round of the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia Ranch begins at 7 a.m. Wednesday at Marshallia Ranch Golf Course. For more information on the Nike Golf Junior at Marshallia Ranch, contact tournament headquarters at (805) 606-6262.