NIKE GOLF JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIP
Langdon Farms Golf Club
September 3-5, 2004
AURORA, Ore. – Jace Long of Dixon, Mo., and Kevin O’Connell of Cary, N.C., share the lead after the second-round of the Nike Golf Junior Championship. The two stand at 4-under-par 138 and hold a three-stroke lead over the field. Taylore Karle of Scottsdale, Ariz. recorded rounds of 73 and 71 for a tournament total of 144 and the 36-hole lead in the Girls Division. Both the first and second rounds of the Nike Golf Junior Championship were conducted on Saturday.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Nike Golf Junior Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event, being held at Langdon Farms Golf Club in Aurora, Oregon. The culmination of the 10-event Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series, the tournament features 72 of the nation’s premier junior golfers, ages 12-15, from 21 states, Canada, China and Peru. The Nike Golf Junior All-Star Series gives juniors ages 12-15 the chance to develop their skills and earn entry into AJGA Open tournaments.
Long got off to a fast start during his second round, making birdie on his first hole, No. 14, and then holing out his lob-wedge on the par-4 15th for an eagle. Long would continue his solid play, making three additional birdies on his way to a 4-under-par, second-round 67. Combined with his first-round even-par 71, Long stands at 138 for the tournament.
“I putted the ball really well today,” Long commented. “I played this event last year and the course was not too kind to me. The year of experience here is really helping me out.”
Long’s best finish of the summer occurred three weeks ago, where he placed third at the Lockton Kansas City Junior.
Tied with Long is O’Connell, who fired the low second-round with a 5-under-par 66. After a solid start to his second round, O’Connell got hot starting on his third hole, No. 16. In addition to a birdie on No. 16, O’Connell holed his third shot for eagle on the par-5 18th hole. From there he would make back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, and then again on Nos. 5 and 6 for a front-side 32.
“I was striking the ball extremely well this afternoon,” O’Connell said. “The longest birdie putt that I made on the day was a 25-footer on No. 5.”
A win at the Nike Junior Championship would only add to his successful summer, which includes a victory just three weeks ago at the AJGA Richmond Junior.
First-round leader Ty Spinella of Aledo, Texas, is tied with a host of individuals currently in third place at 1-under-par 141. Also tied for third after two rounds is Brian Kim of Yorba Linda, Calif., Conrad Shindler of Coppell, Texas, Michael Soowal of Blue Bell, Pa., Case Cochran of Paducah, Ky., and Mu Hu of Shen Zhen, China.
In the Girls Division, Karle’s total of 2-over-par 144 is good enough for a five-stroke lead after the first two rounds. Although she did not hit the ball as well as she would have liked, she was still able to score, mainly due to her short game.
“I was able to get up-and-down out of the bunker all day,” Karle explained. “I have been in school for almost a month now, so I have not been able to practice as much as I would like.”
Karle who was the leader after the first-round, was able to maintain her lead with an even-par round in the afternoon. Similar to her morning round, she recorded four birdies, including an up-and-down out of the greenside bunker on No. 18. Her back-nine 34 included back-to-back birdies on Nos. 13 and 14.
Karle has had great success thus far in Nike Junior All-Star events, with a win in the Nike Golf Junior at Las Cruces and a second-place finish at the Nike Golf Junior at Quad Cities.
Trailing Karle is Sarah Salvo of Glendale, Calif., who finished the second round with a total of 149. Natalie Sheary of West Hartford, Conn., and Jessica Smith of Louisville, Ky., are tied for third at 151.
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 (boys and girls ages 12-18) 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.
Final-round tee times will begin Sunday at 8 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Langdon Farms Golf Club. For more information on the Nike Golf Junior Championship, please contact tournament headquarters at (503) 678-GOLF ext 105.