TRIO SITS ATOP BOYS DIVISION LEADERBOARD AFTER FIRST ROUND OF ROLEX TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Park leads Girls Division after firing a 3-under-par 68
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nick Delio of Valencia, Calif., Alex Shi Yup Kim of Fullerton, Calif., and Jonathan Randolph of Brandon, Miss., are all tied atop the Boys Division leaderboard at the Rolex Tournament of Champions with 1-under-par 70 after Tuesday's first round. In the Girls Division, Kristen Park of Buena Park, Calif., has the lead with a 3-under-par 68.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Rolex Tournament of Champions is a 72-hole stroke play event being held at The Ohio State University Golf Club — Scarlet Course. The 143-player field features players from 31 states and seven countries. The par-71 course is being played at 7,346 yards in the Boys Division and 6,188 yards in the Girls Division. This year marks the 30th edition of the AJGA's flagship tournament. Past champions of this event include Esther Choe, Philip Francis, Charles Howell III, Jamie Lovemark, Phil Mickelson, Grace Park and Morgan Pressel.
Delio said he was pleased with his tee shots, but looks to improve in other areas for the rest of the week.
“I drove the ball really well today,” Delio said. “It was going long and far. I played a lot better today than in other invitationals, so I hope I can keep it up.”
Kim, who is playing in his first Rolex Tournament of Champions, said it took a little time to find his groove amongst the event's impressive field.
“I was really nervous in the beginning, and that probably led to me hitting some bad shots,” Kim said. “But as the round went on, I was able to settle in, and I played a bit better. I just hung in there and made some putts that helped to save my round.”
Randolph said he was happy with his round but that he also hopes to improve and use his experience to keep playing well.
“I had a good, solid round, but it could have been a lot better,” Randolph said. “I need to keep driving it straight. If I can do that I will be ok. I need to play steady and stay patient out there.”
The formidable Scarlet Course, one of the top collegiate golf facilities in the country, presents several challenges including demanding greens and precarious bunker locations on many of the holes.
“It was a really good course, really fair,” Randolph continued. “It helped that my short game and bunker play was really good too, but the course was a good challenge.”
“It is a tough course because it is so long and the greens are pretty tough,” Kim said.
Tied for fourth in the Boys Division are Hunter Slatton of Tuscaloosa, Ala., Peter Uihlein of Bradenton, Fla., Luke Guthrie of Quincy, Ill., John Peterson of Fort Worth, Texas, Wesley Graham of Port Orange, Fla., and Mauricio Azcue of Mexico City, who all shot even-par 71.
In the Girls Division, Park is looking for her first AJGA Invitational win. She shot under par on both sides of the course, with a 35 and 33 on the front and back nines respectively. She totaled four birdies and only one bogey on her way to the top of the leaderboard Tuesday.
“Everything was working well for me today,” Park said. “I hit almost every fairway and I was hitting the greens well.”
Park said she just needs to stay composed and focused for the rest of the week to keep playing some of her best golf of the year.
“I'm not going to think about what place I am in,” Park said. “I'm just going to go out there and do my best because anything can happen in the next three days.”
Tied for second place in the Girls Division after carding 1-over-par 72s are Courtney Ellenbogen of Blacksburg, Va., Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., and Danielle Frasier of Encinitas, Calif.
Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. Along with sponsoring the Rolex Tournament of Champions, Rolex is also the title partner of the Rolex Girls Junior Championship and the proprietors of the Rolex Junior All-America Teams.
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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 25 foreign countries.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989.
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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
For more information on the Rolex Tournament of Champions, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (614) 326-7376.