KAMELGARN MAINTAINS LEAD AMID PLETHORA OF LOW SCORES IN SAYVILLE
Lane rises to top in Boys Division at Lessing's AJGA Classic
SAYVILLE, N.Y. — On an immaculate day at the Island Hills Golf Club where the supreme conditions were optimal for low scores, Marisa Kamelgarn of Mahopac, N.Y., delivered by staying under par for a second consecutive day. She walked out of the scoring tent with a two day total of 3-under 139, good for a one-stroke lead in the ultra-competitve Girls Division going into Thursday's final round. In the Boys Division, Andrew Lane of Fairport, N.Y. duplicated his 3-under par 68 on Tuesday with the same score on Wednesday and also holds a one-stroke lead going into the final round of play at the Lessing's AJGA Classic.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Lessing's AJGA Classic is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Island Hills Golf Club. The 97-player field features players from 15 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and Mexico. The Boys Division is being played at 6,469 yards while the Girls Division is being played at 6,003 yards.
In a Girls Division that featured five below-par rounds Wednesday, highlighted by Meghan Chapman's 5-under-par 66, tying the course record, Kamelgarn, 16, was able to preserve her spot atop the leaderboard due in large part to her timely putting and accuracy off the tee. Maintaining her form from Tuesday, Kamelgarn used a deft touch around the green to give herself a bounty of birdie chances, capitalizing on three. Though she had an inauspicious beginning to her round, carding a bogey on the par-4 No. 1, Kamelgarn rebounded with seven straight pars and a birdie to make the turn with budding momentum. She closed out her afternoon on No. 18 using the proverbial method of “fairways and greens,” a notion that she knows will be the key to success on Thursday's final round.
“I made putts when I needed to, but the key to my game was hitting the fairways,” Kamelgarn said, who hit 15 in regulation on the day. “I might be a little nervous tomorrow, but no more so than any other round. I definitely feel confident in my game.”
Lurking one stroke behind Kamelgarn is Brittany Altomare, the Shrewsbury, Mass., native and University of Virginia verbal commit. Her two-round total of 72-68-140 has her in prime position to earn her third career AJGA victory. Rounding out the top three in the Girls Division are Kristen Allard of Porterville, Calif., and Meghan Chapman of Seminole, Fla., each with a two-day total of 143.
Lane, 16, began the day one stroke out of the lead but will go into the final round alone in first with a two-day total of 6-under-par 136. Consistency was the word of the day for the Fairport native, who recorded a par on 13 of the 18 holes. He also fired four birdies, including the back-to-back par-5 Nos. 3 and 4 to put him at 2-under-par for the day early on. Lane rode that wave of success all the way to No. 15, where he recorded his only bogey of the day. But with the mental fortitude needed to win a national junior golf tournament, Lane bounced back with the best hole of his round on the par-4 No. 16, draining a 15-foot putt to birdie the hole and propel him to a strong finish. For the Fairport native, who by his own admission did not hit the ball well today but was saved by his mental attitude, a win in this tournament would be sweet redemption.
“Winning this tournament would validate everything I have done since I was a little kid,” Lane said. “I just need to keep doing what I am doing tomorrow, keep my mental edge, and I'll feel good about my chances tomorrow.”
Also in the Boys Division top five are Alex Edfort of Somerset, N.J. with a two-day total of 69-68—137, Michael Furci of Sayville, N.Y. with a 69-69—138, Yaroslav Merkulov of Penfield, N.Y. with a 69-69—138 and Andrew Kim of Lake Mary, Fla., Luke Feehan of Carmel, N.Y., and Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., all with a two day total of 2-under-par 140.
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 Lessing's AJGA Classic will run from 7 a.m. — 12:20 p.m. off the No. 1 tee at the Island Hills Golf Club. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Greg Sanfilippo at (678) 936-0163 or visit the AJGA Web site at ajga.org.