HALL, HAK IN THE LEAD AT THE MIZUNO JUNIOR AT INNISBROOK
Watson takes first-round lead in the Girls Division
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Gavin Hall of Pittsford, N.Y., and Shun Yat Hak Lake Mary, Fla., share the lead after the first round with 1-under-par 70s at the Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook. Sally Watson of Bradenton, Fla., leads in the Girls Division after carding a 1-under-par 69.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the 16th annual Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook is a 54-hole stroke play event (36-hole cut for the Boys Division) being held at Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club. The tournament field consists of 138 boys and 77 girls, ages 12-18, from 27 states and seven foreign countries. The Boys Division is playing the par-71 Copperhead Course at 7,305 yards, while the Girls Division is competing on the par-70 Osprey North Course, which is playing at 5,911 yards.
Coming to Innisbrook for the second time to participate with the AJGA, Hak was excited to improve on his performance from last year. The front nine played steady for Hak as he made pars on the first eight holes and carded a birdie on No. 9. The back nine was more challenging, as he made three birdies and three bogeys to finish 1-under-par.
“The course is always in great shape and the wind is always an issue,” said Hak. “My long putts were good today and that saved my round.”
Hall came to Florida from the cold weather of New York and with the anxiety of playing in his first event since October. Hall's front nine started off with two birdies and two bogeys, but moving to his back nine Hall began to play consistently. On the 605-yard par-5 fifth hole, Hall made a 25 foot putt for birdie and finished his back nine 1-under-par.
“I made crucial putts for par,” said Hall. “The greens were really pure and I really enjoyed playing.”
In the Boys Division, Scott Smyers of Lakeland, Fla., is in third with a 1-over-par 72. Tied for fourth are Byeong-hun An of Bradenton, Fla., Blake Morris of Waterbury, Conn., Eduardo Chavez of Hillsborough, Calif., Zachary Herr of New Hope, Pa., Davis Lee of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Motin Yeung of Orlando, Fla., with 3-over-par 73s.
Not playing her best during the practice round, Watson was apprehensive about first-round play. Starting on the No. 10 tee, Watson made the turn to No.1 at 1-over-par with a birdie and two bogeys. Watson found her game on the back nine, when she went bogey free and carded two birdies to finish 1-under-par.
“I got a tough lie off No.6 tee and wanted to get it to the green any way I could,” said Watson. “Pitching is one of my strengths and I gave myself a lot of chances to do that today.”
In the Girls Division, Maria Piccio of Bradenton, Fla., is in second with an even-par 70. Tied for third are Simin Feng of Orlando, Fla., Doris Chen of Bradenton, Fla., Yueer Cindy Feng of Orlando, Fla., and Aurora Kan of Boothwyn, Pa., with 2-over-par 72s.
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 approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 foreign countries.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. More than 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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.
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 25 minutes from Tampa International Airport. Innisbrook features 72 holes of championship golf, 608 spacious guest suites and rooms, four restaurants and three bars, the Innisbrook Golf Institute, 11 tennis courts, the new full-service Indaba Spa with 12 treatment rooms and state-of-the-art Fitness Center, six heated swimming pool complexes, a nature preserve, and three newly renovated conference halls with 65,000 square feet of meeting space. For additional information call (727) 942-2000 or visit www.innisbrookgolfresort.com.
Second-round tee times for the Boys Division run 8 — 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 — 2:09 p.m. off Nos. 1 and 10 tees on the Copperhead Course. The Girls Division tee times are from 8 — 9:48 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10 tees on the Osprey North Course. For more information about the Mizuno Junior at Innisbrook please contact Tournament Headquarters at (727) 942-2000, room 2787.