KOCOLOWSKI TAKES EARLY LEAD AT MIZUNO JUNIOR AT INNISBROOK
Kiser leads Girls Division with 4-under-par 66 at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Matt Kocolowski of Apopka, Fla., sits atop the Boys Division at the Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club after shooting a 1-under-par 70 Friday. Victoria Kiser of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., fired a 4-under-par 66 to lead the Girls Division by two strokes.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 15th annual Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook features 138 boys and 78 girls — ages 12-18 — from 27 states and five foreign countries. This is the largest tournament field in the history of the AJGA. Past champions of the event include current PGA and LPGA Tour players Charles Howell III, Ryuji Imada, Beth Bauer and Brittany Lincicome. The Boys Division is playing the par-71 Copperhead Course at 7,105 yards, while the Girls Division is competing on the par-70 Highlands North Course, which is playing at 5,791 yards.
Kocolowski, 16, started his round off strong with a birdie on the par-5 first hole. He followed that with a bogey on No. 2, but considered that a good score after hitting the ball in the water.
“I really was not upset about my bogey, because it was a good recovery,” Kocolowski said. “After that, I realized there were still a lot of birdie opportunities out there.”
Kocolowski found those opportunities right away, carding birdies on the third and fourth holes en route to a 2-under-par 34 on the front nine. He followed that with a 1-over-par 36 on the back side. Kocolowski credited his strong round to solid putting and said he did not miss any putt that was within 10 feet of the hole.
“It was the kind of putting where you feel good on every hole and you feel you can make anything,” Kocolowski said.
Justin Thomas of Goshen, Ky., and Kevin Phelan of St. Augustine, Fla., are tied for second place with matching even-par 71s. Kyle Kopsick of Lake Bluff, Ill., Richard Werenski of South Hadley, Mass., and Rick Kittelstad of Lutz, Fla., are tied for fourth place with 1-over-par 72s.
In the Girls Division, Kiser began her round on the 10th hole and posted an even-par 35 over her first nine holes. She kicked it into high gear on her back side, carding five birdies en route to a 4-under-par 31. Two of those birdies came on her final two holes of the day.
Kiser felt the key to her low score was a strong short game. She noted that she has recently undergone swing changes and has been focusing her play around the green. Kiser said she was able to get up-and-down on all the holes where she missed the green.
“I've been working really hard on my short game lately,” Kiser said. “I felt it was really strong today and I'm feeling very confident going into tomorrow.”
Meghan Chapman of Seminole, Fla., sits two shots back after firing a 2-under-par 68. Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., and Lindy Duncan of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., are tied for third place with matching even-par 70s.
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.
Mizuno USA, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuno Corporation, one of the largest specialty sporting goods manufacturers in the world. Mizuno USA, Inc. manufactures and distributes golf, baseball, softball, running, track & field, and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear for North America. Mizuno USA, Inc. is based in Norcross, Ga.
Situated on 900 wooded acres of rolling hills and 70 acres of lakes on Florida's Gulf Coast near Tampa, Florida, Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club is located just 30 minutes from Tampa International Airport. Innisbrook features 72 holes of championship golf, 620 spacious guest suites and rooms, four restaurants and three bars, the Innisbrook Golf Institute, 11 tennis courts, fitness and racquetball center, six heated swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three conference halls with 65,000 square feet of meeting space. Innisbrook is owned and managed by Salamander Hospitality, a privately owned and operated company based in Middleburg, Va., just outside Washington, D.C. and built upon a uniquely entrepreneurial approach to the hospitality business. For additional information call (727) 942-2000 or visit www.innisbrookgolfresort.com.
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 for the Boys Division will run from 8:15-9:48 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees on the Copperhead Course, with a second wave teeing off from 12:36-2:18 p.m. The Girls Division will have tee times running from 8:15-10:03 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees on the Highlands North Course.
For more information on the Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook, please call AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (727) 942-2000, Room 2787.