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WindStone Golf Club
Ringgold, Ga. • June 4 - 7

Ernst shoots 67 to take early lead in Girls Division

RINGGOLD, Ga. —  James White of Acworth, Ga., carded a 9-under par 61 to lead after the first round of the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic at WindStone Golf Club. The low round sets a new American Junior Golf Association 18-hole record. Austin Ernst of Seneca, S.C., fired a 3-under-par 67 to lead the Girls Division after the first round.

Conducted by the AJGA, the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic is being held at WindStone Golf Club. The tournament field consisted of 71 boys and 28 girls from 18 states and one foreign country. The Boys Division is being played at 6,459 yards and the Girls Division is at 5,667 yards.

White tallied six birdies over a seven-hole stretch and recorded a bogey-free round to lead the Boys Division by six strokes after the first day. White said it was a good feeling to know that he now holds the new AJGA record for lowest 18-hole round. He also knows he was fortunate to put everything together today for his round.

“To be honest, I hit almost every fairway, every green and made just about every putt,” White said. “You joke about it all the time, but today that's what I did.”

Other round one leaders in the Boys Division are Parker Houston of Greensboro, N.C., Michael Lee of Columbus, Ga., and Drew Ernst of Seneca, S.C., who are all six shots back after carding 3-under-par 67s. Ethan Tracy of Hilliard, Ohio, Derek Chang of Alpharetta, Ga., Lee Knox of Augusta, Ga., Drew Aimone of Savannah, Ga., and Andrew Heiser of London, Ky., are all eight strokes behind White after shooting 1-under par 69s.

Ernst, playing in her sixth AJGA tournament, was pleased with her game and is looking forward to the rest of the week. The greens were a real challenge for some, but Ernst was very pleased with her overall play.

“I just thought it was solid. I didn't have any three putts today,” Ernst said. “The greens were pretty fast but I had the speed of the greens all day long.”

Other leaders in the Girls Division included Stacey Kim of Columbus, Ga., who recorded a 1-under par 69. Kiara Hayashida of Lima, Peru, and Stephanie Kim of Bayside, N.Y., are both three shots back after firing even-par 70s.

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 an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of more than 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and more than 25 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 is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.

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 Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Cristie Kerr, Pat Hurst, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.

Second round tee times will begin off the No. 1 tee at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday at WindStone Golf Club. For more information about the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic, please contact tournament headquarters at (706)965-2542.