PLATT LEADS BY SIX AFTER 7-UNDER-PAR 65
Yang and Zhang tied for Girls Division lead at 1-under-par 71
DANBURY, Conn. — Niall Platt of Santa Barbara, Calif., shot an opening round of 7-under-par 65 to lead the Boys Division by six strokes at the Fidelity Investments Junior Championship at Richter Park. Julie Yang of Phoenix and Nicole Zhang of Calgary, Alberta each carded 1-under-par 71s to lead the Girls Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Fidelity Investments Junior Championship at Richter Park is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Richter Park Golf Course. The 86-player field features players from 15 states and Canada. The course is being played at 6,695 yards in the Boys Division and 6,045 yards in the Girls Division.
Platt recorded seven birdies on the day, recording back-to-back birdies on his opening nine at Nos. 12 and 13, as well as No. 17. He then sank three consecutive birdies after making the turn, and rolled in another on No. 7.
While he hit 17 greens on the day, Platt credited his putting more than any other part of his game.
“I didn't hit the ball that close to the hole today,” he said, “but made some 20-footers, and was also able to make the six-footers coming back.”
Platt is looking to do more of the same Wednesday, hoping to find the right spots on the Richter Park Golf Course greens.
“They're big greens, but they have a lot of slope, and they're pretty fast too,” Platt said.
David Zhang of South Glastonbury, Conn., Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Dominic Bozzelli of Pittsford, N.Y., are tied for second, each carding rounds of 1-under-par 71. Tied for fifth are Micah Jacobsen of Fernandina Beach, Fla., Erik Mayer of Appleton, Wisc., Devin Komline of Dorset, Vt., and Hunter Stone of South Deerfield, Mass., at even-par 72.
In the Girls Division, Yang, 12, recorded five birdies on the way to her 71. She was pleased by her ball striking and kept her control of her game.
“I had some amazing iron shots today, to just a few feet for easy birdies,” Yang said. “Everything was just very precise and accurate.”
Zhang used a more consistent approach, carding 14 pars on the day. She felt her game coming into form during Monday's practice round, as the tree-lined course reminded her of those she plays in Canada.
“I had one swing thought that I said to myself before every shot,” Zhang said. However, the 15-year-old was guarded about sharing too much, saying it was “kind of a secret.”
Marina Alex of Wayne, N.J. is alone in third after a first-round of even-par 72.
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 more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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 AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
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.
Second-round tee times will run from 7:00 — 9:06 a.m. Wednesday off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees. For more information about the Fidelity Investments Junior Championship at Richter Park, please contact tournament headquarters at (203) 792-2550 ext. 17.