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Marshallia Ranch Golf Course -
Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. • June 5 - 8

Dorward, Fu tied atop Boys Division at Birks & Mayors Junior Championship at Mirasol

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Defending champion Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla., fired a first-round low, 6-under-par 66 to lead the way in the Girls Division at the Birks & Mayors Junior Championship at Mirasol Wednesday. Justin Dorward of Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Zhong Yang Fu of Bradenton, Fla., both shot 5-under-par 67s to tie for the lead in the Boys Division.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Birks & Mayors Junior Championship at Mirasol is a 54-hole stroke play event held on the Sunset Course at The Country Club at Mirasol. The 84-player field features players from seven states, the Cayman Islands, Japan, Poland and South Korea. The Girls Division is playing the Sunset Course at 6,048 yards, while the Boys Division is playing it at 6,873 yards.

Hurst, who finished second in last week's Thunderbird International Junior, started out strong with a 6-under-par 30 on the front nine. She birdied five of the last six holes before the turn and was on a roll before a weather delay brought the field inside.

“Everything on the front nine was working well for me today,” Hurst said. “My putting and overall shot making was excellent out there.”

Hurst carded an even-par 36 on the back nine, staying optimistic after not playing as well after the weather delay.

“I just wasn't in my aggressive mood anymore, but I still played pretty well,” Hurst said. “I just need to keep doing what I'm doing. Playing my game and being consistent is key for the rest of the week.”

Behind Hurst in the Girls Division tied for second are Elizabeth Alger of Tequesta, Fla., and Sherlyn Popelka of Bradenton, Fla., who both shot 4-under-par 68s.

In the Boys Division, Dorward and Fu both shot 4-under-par 32 on the front nine and 1-under-par 35 on the back nine to sit tied atop the leaderboard.

Dorward birdied four out of his last five holes to finish his round strong.

“I started off real solid, hitting the greens and two putting,” Dorward said. “I didn't have any bogeys.”

Fu also finished his final holes of the day solid, carding four birdies on his last seven holes. He credited much of his front-nine success to his short game.

“My putting was key. I made a lot of long putts,” Fu said. “My chipping also helped me save par, I think I was a little lucky today. But we will see what happens the rest of the week.”

Behind the leaders tied for third are Blayne Barber of Lake City, Fla., Devin Patel of Celebration, Fla., and Andrew Colvin of Longwood, Fla., who all carded 4-under-par 68s.

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, the largest Association of its kind, has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 25 foreign countries.

Birks & Mayors operates 67 luxury jewelry stores across Canada, Florida and Georgia. The company posted annual sales of $274.3 million in 2006 and employs more than 1,100 employees in Canada and the United States. The company operates 38 stores (Birks brand) across most major metropolitan markets in Canada and 29 stores (Mayors brand) across Florida and Georgia. Birks & Mayors also designs and manufactures fine jewelry, timepieces, sterling and plated silverware and gifts under the Birks brand, which is currently sold through Birks & Mayors retail channels.

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.

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 foreign countries.

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 run from 7:30 a.m. — 9:27 a.m. off the No. 1 & 10 tees Thursday. For more information on the Birks and Mayors Junior Championship at Mirasol, please contact tournament headquarters at (561) 776-4949, ext. 216.