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Independence Golf Club
Midlothian, Va. • July 18 - 21

Sheldon leads in the Girls Division after firing a 1-under-par 71

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. — Preston Yates of Winston-Salem, N.C., fired a 7-under-par round of 65 to lead the Boys Division after the first round of the AJGA Richmond Junior. Claire Sheldon of Milton, Mass., opened the tournament with a 1-under-par 71 to lead the Girls Division by one shot.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AGJA Richmond Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event that features 99 players, 78 boys and 21 girls, ages 12-18 from 23 states and Canada. Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Va., home of the Virginia State Golf Association, is hosting the second-year event for the first time.

Yates used a hot start to set an early tone to his round. After recording birdies on three of his first four holes, the 2006 graduate went on to miss only one green on the day and finished the round with eight birdies and one bogey.

“My distance control was good today and I was fortunate to make some putts,” said Yates, who missed breaking the competitive course record by one stroke. “I hit where I was looking and was very confident with my putting.”

Yates holds a two-shot advantage over Colby Moore of Cornelius, N.C., who sits in second place after carding a 5-under-par 67, the only other sub-70 round of the day. Rounding out the top five, four players shot 2-under-par rounds of 70 to tie for third: Myles Vlachos of Monrovia, Md., Sean Goshert of Conway, S.C., Shung Lee of Artesia, Calif., and Michael Perlmutter of Rockville, Md.

In the Girls Division, Sheldon hit eight of nine greens in regulation to carry her to a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine and the only sub-par round of the day.

“I want to keep driving the ball well and keep hitting greens,” Sheldon said, who is playing in only her fourth AJGA event. “I usually set myself up really well on my drives, and I had a lot of pars today.”

Kathleen Ekey of Wadsworth, Ohio, and Yu Lee of Orlando, Fla., are tied for second after shooting even-par rounds of 72, leaving them one shot behind Sheldon.

The American Junior Golf Association is a 501c(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.

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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 280 wins. AJGA alumni include Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III, Mike Weir, Charles Howell III, Jim Furyk, Dottie Pepper, Grace Park, Cristie Kerr and Beth Bauer.

Second-round tee-times will run from 7-11:48 a.m. at the Independence Golf Club. For more information on the AJGA Richmond Junior, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (804) 897-8641, ext. 122.