THREE TIED FOR LEAD AT MCDONALD'S BETSY RAWLS GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIP
Hurst, Lendl and McCloskey share lead at White Manor Country Club
MALVERN, Pa. â€” Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., Marika Lendl of Bradenton, Fla., and Lisa McCloskey of Montgomery, Texas, all share the lead at 1-under-par 70 after first-round action at the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke-play tournament being held at White Manor Country Club in Malvern, Pa., and is one of 10 AJGA Invitationals in 2006. The 77-player field includes girls from 20 states, Canada, Japan and Thailand. Within the tournament field, there are 27 Rolex Junior All-Americans and 15 are listed in the top 20 of the AJGA Girls Rankings. Past champions of the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Junior Championship include Grace Park, Christie Kerr, Beth Bauer and Morgan Pressel.
Hurst made few mistakes, recording her lone blemish of the round on the difficult par-5, No. 6. She recorded back-to-back birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 to reach 1-under-par for the tournament.
â€śI played steady today and finished really well,â€ť said Hurst. â€śLeading doesn't mean much now, it is only the first round and there is still a lot of golf to be played.
Lendl, started off well but struggled in the middle of her front-nine, recording two bogeys in a three-hole span. She recovered with a 2-under-par back nine performance, recording birdies on Nos. 11 and 17.
â€śThe round came easy to me today because I have played here twice before and I am familiar with the course,â€ť said Lendl. â€śI hope to build momentum off my performance today for the rest of the tournament.â€ť
McCloskey capitalized on every opportunity presented during her round, offsetting two bogeys with three birdies. She recorded a consistent round of even-par 35 on the front side before moving to 1-under-par for good after a birdie on No. 10.
â€śI played very well today, but left a couple birdie putts out there,â€ť McCloskey said. â€śWith the caliber of field at this tournament it is an honor just to be here, but to be leading is just awesome.â€ť
Kristina Wong of Vestal, N.Y., is alone in fourth with an even-par 71. Andrea Messer of Largo, Fla., Isabelle Lendl of Bradenton, Fla., Stacey Kim of Columbus, Ga., Kristen Schelling of Mesa, Ariz., all sit tied for fifth with 1-over-par 72 performances. Rounding out the top 10 tied for ninth at 2-over-par 73 are Glory Yang of Murrieta, Calif., Joanna Coe of Mays Landing, N.J., and Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif.
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, 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, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr, Candie Kung and Paula Creamer.
Second-round tee times will run from 8-10 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees Wednesday, July 26. For more information about the McDonald's Betsy Rawls Girls Championship, please call tournament headquarters at (610) 540-0276.