GRILLO PULLS AWAY IN BOYS DIVISION AT THE PING INVITATIONAL
Tanco, Lee tied for lead in Girls Division at Karsten Creek Golf Club
STILLWATER, Okla. — Emiliano Grillo of Resistencia, Argentina, carded a 2-under-par 70 Sunday to take a four-shot lead heading into the final day of The PING Invitational. In the Girls Division, defending champion Victoria Tanco of Bradenton, Fla., and Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash., are tied for the lead at 4-over-par going into Monday's final round.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, The PING Invitational is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Karsten Creek Golf Club. The 72-player field features players from 19 states, Argentina, Colombia, Denmark, Northern Ireland and Thailand. The Boys Division is playing Karsten Creek Golf Club at 7,316 yards, while the Girls Division is playing at 6,307 yards.
The only player to finish under par for both rounds of the tournament, Grillo credited his success to improving his putting after some early struggles. He made up for Saturday's double bogey on No. 17 with a birdie there Sunday, but finished with a bogey on No. 18 that cut his lead to four shots.
“I was excited after No. 17 but had a bad bogey on No. 18. My round could have been better.” Grillo said. “It feels really great to still be playing so well, especially on this tough course.”
Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind., is in second place at 1-under-par 143. Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., sits in third place at 1-over-par 145. Andrew Levitt of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., and Matthew Ceravolo of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., are tied for fourth at 3-over-par 147.
Tanco finds herself in a familiar position, having led by one stroke at this tournament last year on her way to victory and Rolex Junior Player of the Year honors. She was 2-under-par through No. 15 but bogeyed each of her last three holes to slip into a tie for the lead.
“I started out bad but then had some good birdies to keep it together,” Tanco said. “The last holes are much harder than the rest but it feels good to be leading here again.”
Lee's consistent day featured two birdies, one bogey and a double bogey. She goes into Monday looking for her first AJGA Invitational win.
“I was able to make a lot of clutch par putts to keep my momentum going,” Lee said. “It feels scary and nervewracking going into tomorrow, but at the same time it feels good knowing my game is on.”
First-round leader Rachel Morris of Carlsbad, Calif., is alone in third place at 5-over-par 149.
This week's tournament title partner, PING, designs, manufactures and markets a complete line of golf equipment including metal woods, irons, putters and golf bags. The family-owned company was founded in 1959 by the late Karsten Solheim. Solheim is the only person to be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as a golf club manufacturer. Today, the Phoenix-based company is under the direction of Solheim's youngest son, John A. Solheim. PING game-improvement products can be found in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.pinggolf.com.
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.
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 and Morgan Pressel.
Final-round tee times run 8-9:50 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Karsten Creek Golf Club. For more information on The PING Invitational, please contact AJGA Tournament Headquarters at (405) 533-8190.