MURRAY TAKES THREE-SHOT LEAD AT CORSEMAX/PHILADELPHIA RUNNER JUNIOR
Hildebrandt builds four-shot lead in Girls Division
ELVERSON, Pa. Michael Murray of Bradenton, Fla., fired a 4-under-par 66 to take a three-shot lead at 71-66 137 entering Thursday's final round of the CorseMax/Philadelphia Runner Junior. Laura Hildebrandt of Ancaster, Ontario recorded a second-round 68, the only round under par in the Girls Division, to take a four-shot lead at 72-68 140 after 36 holes.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the CorseMax/Philadelphia Runner Junior is a 54-hole stroke-play event being held at the par-70 Stonewall Links North Course in Elverson, Pa. The 98-player field features players from 19 states, Canada and Poland. The Boys Division is playing the event at 6,591 yards, while the Girls Division is playing at 5,646 yards.
After a poor performance on the greens at the U.S. Junior, Murray decided to experiment with different putting grips for this week's tournament. Murray switched to the claw grip, and the result has been rounds with 28 and 30 putts, respectively.
With the aid of his hot putter, Murray carded a front-nine 31, just as he did in the second round of June's Taylor Woodrow Junior at Magnolia Landing. He said the difference between the rounds is how he finished.
I was juiced up on the back nine, but I knew that if I swung easier, I would make my way in, said Murray, who birdied No. 18 to finish with an even-par 35 on the back nine. I've been in this position before, and today I was more relaxed.
Hojin Kang of Longwood, Fla., is in second at 69-71 140, while Daniel Charen of Langhorne, Pa., sits in third at 71-70 141. David Brown of Stewartsville, N.J., Brad Miller of Timonium, Md., Brendan Doyle of Beverly Hills, Calif., and Stefan Brewer of Charlotte, N.C. are tied for fourth at 2-over-par 142.
In the Girls Division, Hildebrandt used two birdies and an eagle on the front nine to build her four-shot lead. Though she parred each hole on the back nine, the 2007 Ontario Junior Girls Champion said she wants to hit better approach shots tomorrow so she can turn pars into birdies.
My back nine was consistent, but still interesting, Hildebrandt said. I just need to keep it steady, that's what I do.
Courtney Gunter sits in second with a 4-over-par 72-72 144 total, while Marina Alex of Wayne, N.J., is in third at 5-over-par 73-72 145.
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.
Final-round tee times for the CorseMax/Philadelphia Runner Junior will run from 7:30 a.m. 12:18 p.m. off the No. 1 tee at Stonewall Links North Course. For more information, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (610) 286-2893.