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Moon Valley Country Club
Phoenix, Ariz.
August 19-22, 2004
Blumenherst 7-under-par; Nielsen 5-under-par for respective leads

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Rolex Junior All-American Amanda Blumenherst of Scottsdale, Ariz., continued her strong play this summer by carding a 7-under-par 65 to claim the first round lead at the PING Phoenix Junior.  Fellow Arizona native Kyle Nielsen of Lake Havasu City fired a 5-under-par 67 to take a two-stroke lead in the Boys Division.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the PING Phoenix Junior features 84 players, 63 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18 from 18 states, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates.  Thirty-three juniors call the host state of Arizona home.  The 54-hole stroke play event is being held at the Moon Valley Country Club for the first time.

Blumenherst, who recently claimed victory at the McDonald’s Betsy Rawls Girls Championship, carded a 34-31—65 to take a 5-stroke lead in the Girls Division after Thursday’s first round.

“I made seven birdies and stayed bogey-free today.  I just felt like everything was going right.  I kept my drives in the fairway and stayed consistent with my irons,” stated Blumenherst, who hit all but one green in regulation during her round.   “Even my putter was on today, and I was able to make all the short putts I needed to.”

The only other Girls Division competitors to finish the day under par were Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Jennie Lee of Huntington Beach, Calif.  Each fired first-round 35-35—70s for a share of second place.

Nielsen, who carded a 34-33—67, started strong off the No. 10 tee with birdies on Nos. 10, 12 and 17.  During his second nine holes, he also birdied Nos. 2 and 8 for a solid 2-shot lead over the rest of the field.

“I just had to do everything I could to keep the ball in play,” Nielsen remarked about Friday’s round.  “The greens are hard so you don’t have to worry about a lot of bouncing and rolling, but it made it hard to really put a spin on it.  I focused on keeping it down the middle and in the fairway.”

Finishing two shots behind Nielsen at 3-under-par 69 are California natives Brian Locke of Los Angeles and Jake Yount of Danville.  Five players are three shots back at 70—Jordan Fowles of Delta, Utah, Bradley Wyatt of La Verne, Calif., Austin Bowman of Pryor, Okla., Tim McKenney of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Philip Francis of Scottsdale, Ariz.

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 has a membership of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 50 states and 30 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, a supporter of the AJGA since 1983, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004.

The second round of the PING Phoenix Junior will begin Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees. For more information about the PING Phoenix Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (602) 942-0000, ext. 4611.