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Persimmon Ridge Golf Club

Louisville, Kentucky

August 2 – 5, 2004



Smith emerges as new Girls Division leader in second round of the Nike Golf Junior at Louisville


LOUISVILLE, Ky.  Carding five birdies, making a few up and downs, and hitting consistent fairways and greens pushed Rickie Fowler to the top of the leaderboard with a second-round 3-under-par 69 at the Nike Golf Junior at Louisville.  Leaping forward to grasp the lead in the Girls Division is Jessica Smith, who was able to shoot seven strokes lower than her first round total with a 1-under-par 71.


The Nike Golf Junior at Louisville is a 54-hole stroke play event conducted by the American Junior Golf Association. The event features 81 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-15, from 22 states. The field is composed of eight Kentucky natives.


Fowler, 15, of Murrieta, Calif., broke away from the first-round tie with Dusty Koth of Bloomington, Ill., to card five birdies and make his two-day total a 5-under-par 139.


“It was a combination of everything that allowed me to shoot so well today,” Fowler said. “The best moment of the day was my 50-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 16th hole.”


This tournament marks Fowler’s first AJGA event. His strategy for the final round consists of concentrating on his own game and not getting caught up in anyone else’s score.


“I feel pretty good going into the next round,” he said. “I just want to have fun, play my own game, and concentrate on nothing but the course.”


Going into the final round with a 143 is Dusty Koth, Bloomington, Ill.  Behind Koth is Josh Jones of The Colony, Texas, with a 144. Martin Bunt of Pensacola, Fla., is close behind with a 146.  In a three-way tie at 147 are Daniel Mayer of Winter Park, Fla., Joseph Barr of Versailles, Ky., and Brandon Ellis of Westerville, Ohio.


Smith, 15, of Louisville, Ky., corrected her mistakes from her first-round 77 to shoot a 1-under-par 71 and become the new leader of the Girls Division.


“I feel really great,” Smith said. “I had no idea I’d play this well.”


Smith got off to a shaky start when she began her day on the back nine, but after carding a birdie on No. 15, she said the putts just started falling in.


“My short game was awesome,” she said. “I was able to get up and down often to save par.”


A total of six birdies, including a 30-footer on No. 8, helped Smith to gain the momentum she needed for a strong second-round finish.


“I just want to shoot another score in the 70s and stay focused,” she said. “There’s still one more day.”


Behind Smith is Shannon Fish of Spring, Texas, with a 151. Tied at 153 are Karisa Akin of Elizabethtown, Ky., and Courtney Ellenbogen of Blacksburg, Va.


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.


Final-round tee times will run from 7:00 a.m. – 8:57 a.m., Thursday at Persimmon Ridge Golf Club.


Titleist, the AJGA’s National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association’s success since 1989. Rolex Watch U.S.A., a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became an AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.


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 Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Vicki Goetze-Ackerman, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.


For more information on the Nike Golf Junior at Louisville, contact tournament headquarters at (502) 241-0819.