MORRIS GOES LOW, TAKES LEAD IN FIDELITY INVESTMENTS JUNIOR CLASSIC AT THE BAY CLUB
Chang rises to the top in Girls Division with an even-par performance Wednesday
MATTAPOISETT, Mass. — Blake Morris had been waiting to go low in an American Junior Golf Association tournament for three years. In fact, Morris has yet to finish higher than 19th place in an AJGA event, much less lead after a round of play. But after firing a 2-under-par 69 on Wednesday, his wait to end both droughts is likely over. Morris' two-round total of 3-under 172 has him perched atop the Boys Division leaderboard for the first time in his career as he heads into Thursday's final round at the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic at The Bay Club. In the Girls Division, Olivia Chang staked her claim atop the field after shooting an even-par 71, good for a two-day total of 2-over-par 144. Like Morris, the lead is her first in an AJGA event, a fact that she is sure to relish after an arduous day at the lengthy Bay Club Golf Course.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic at the Bay Club is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at the Bay Club at Mattapoisett. The 98-player field features players from 15 states. The Boys Division is playing the par-71 course at 6,917 yards while the Girls Division is playing at 6,284 yards.
Morris, the 16-year old sophomore from Waterbury, Conn., came into the second round tied for second place after a 1-under-par 70 on Tuesday. Ten pars and five birdies later, Morris strolled into the scoring tent with the swagger of a potential champion and left with sole possession of first place. His 1-under-par 34 on the front preceded a dazzling stretch on the back in which he birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 13.
“I've been ripping up that stretch ever since the practice round,” said Morris, who carded birdies on Nos. 11 and 13 yesterday as well. “I just felt really comfortable on the course today. I think my confidence is as high as it's ever been.”
Trailing Morris by one stroke is Kramer Hickok of Plano, Texas, who recorded a two-round total of 1-under-par 141. Behind Hickok is Eddie Hjerpe of Barrington, R.I., with a two-day total of even-par 142, and rounding out the top five is Brian Murphy of Wilton, Conn., Max Campion of Brookline, Mass., and Andrew Lane of Fairport, N.Y., all carding a 1-over-par 143.
Chang, a San Lorenzo, Calif., native, used her deft touch around the green to give herself a myriad of birdie opportunities, capitalizing on four. Always exuberant and constantly smiling, Chang rebounded from every bogey with a birdie or par, proving that she has the capability to be consistent and not dwell on a bad hole. On her best hole of the day, the par-4 No. 17, she used her pitching wedge to stick the ball within two feet of the flagstick, giving her an easy birdie chance and momentum to finish out her round on a high note.
“My pitching wedge was definitely my best friend today,” Chang exclaimed. “I controlled it the best, but overall I was really happy with how things went. I am definitely excited for tomorrow.”
Three strokes behind Chang is Joy Kim of Pinole, Calif., with a two-day total of 5-over-par 147. Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division is Suzie Lee of East Northport, N.Y., who carded a two-day total of 7-over-par 149.
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. 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.
Final-round tee times for the Fidelity Investments Junior Classic at the Bay Club will run from 7 a.m. — 12:20 p.m. off the No. 1 tee at the Bay Club at Mattapoisett. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Preston Etheridge at (770) 241-5294 or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.