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TPC Southwind
Memphis, Tenn. • July 18 - 21

Freeman leads Girls Division at the Tournament Players Club at Southwind

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After surviving thunderstorms and a rain-soaked course at the Tournament Players Club at Southwind, Troy Sidabras of Indialantic, Fla., and Cara Freeman of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., emerged as the leaders in their respective divisions at the True Temper/David Gossett Junior Championship.

The True Temper/David Gossett Junior Championship, conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, features 66 boys and 18 girls — ages 12-18 — from 19 states and Australia, including 23 from Tennessee. The event is being staged on the par-71, 6,820-yard Tournament Players Club at Southwind, home of the PGA TOUR's FedEx/St. Jude Classic (Girls Division plays at 6,015).

Sidabras, a 17-year-old rising high school senior, was able to counter his four bogeys on the day with three birdies and finish only one stroke over par on a day when birdies were hard to come by.

“I tried to go for the center of the green every time, regardless of the pin placement,” said Sidabras. “The greens here are so hard, you have to shoot for par and just let the birdies come to you.”

After carding only three birdies during his round (on Nos. 2, 10 and 11), Sidabras said that the key to playing well at the Tournament Players Club at Southwind lies in the greens.

“I was able to scramble really well today and make some pars. You can't go for the flag on most of the holes because the greens are so fast,” said Sidabras. “It is just another golf course though, everyone has to adjust to the greens here.”

Nipping at Sidabras' heels with 2-over-par 73s are Jacob Davidson of Jacksonville, Fla., Dalton Owens of Mt. Vernon, Mo., and Richard Ciombor of Anthem, Ariz. Drew Maliniak of Collierville, Tenn., and Kyle Welch of Floyds Knobs, Ind., are tied for fifth with 3-over-par 74s.

Rounding out the top 10 are Todd Heinz of Collierville, Tenn., Jack Belote of Bartlett, Tenn., Jonathan Fly of Memphis, Tenn., and Bobby Hudson of Memphis, Tenn., with 4-over-par 75s.

In the Girls Division, it was Freeman, 16, who took the lead with a 7-over-par 78. Playing in her first AJGA event, Freeman hit 12 fairways and carded two birdies on the round.

“I started off really well and was able to hit my first six fairways,” said Freeman. “I didn't hit as many greens as I would have liked but I was chipping really well today.”

Freeman thinks that part of the reason for her success was the length of the course, allowing her to use her driver.

“It's a long course and my driver is my favorite club,” said Freeman.

Sitting one stroke behind Freeman is Kellye Belcher of Bartlett, Tenn., with a 79. Tyrette Metzendorf of Winter Haven, Fla., and Sara Jones of The Colony, Texas, are tied for third with 82s. Rounding out the top five are Sarah Dodson of Tulsa, Okla., and Tia Gannon of Hilton Head Island, S.C., with 83s.

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 49 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, which enters its third decade of support, became the inaugural 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.

Second-round tee times will begin Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at the Tournament Players Club at Southwind.

For more information about the True Temper/David Gossett Junior Championship, contact tournament headquarters at (901) 748-0534.