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Bellefonte Country Club
Ashland, Ky. • June 19 - 22

Katahira and Kim sit atop leaderboard in Girls Division at Bellefonte Country Club

ASHLAND, Ky. — Donnie Shin of Columbia, Md., and Boris Stantchev of Long Beach, Calif., shot 3-under-par 67s to lead after the first round of the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior at Bellefonte Country Club Wednesday. Mitsuki Katahira of Wheaton, Ill., and Stacy Kim of Yorba Linda, Calif., shot 2-over-par 72s to tie for the lead in the Girls Division.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior is being held at Bellefonte Country Club. The tournament field consists of 90 boys and 30 girls from 20 states and Mexico. The Boys Division is playing the course at 6,049 yards and the Girls Division at 5,652 yards.

Playing in his first AJGA Open Tournament, Stantchev began the day well, carding birdies on four of his first seven holes. He was disappointed he bogeyed the last two holes, as he approached No. 17 at 5-under-par. Stantchev said he putted well and had a great short game, which carried him throughout the day.

“I knew I was up there during the day,” Stantchev said, referring to the leaderboard. “I had a lot of confidence in my short game and my putter; I only used three drivers. You need to have a lot strategy for this course and tomorrow I plan to have the same approach to my game.”

Shin didn't have a boring round with a mix of bogeys, pars and birdies to keep him on top of his game. Shin said he hit his irons well and had his putter working well.

“I was up and down a lot for most of my birdies,” Shin said. “My plan for tomorrow is to hit drivers on every hole, hit the fairways and not get near the trees on the course. I just want to play well.”

Jordan Janico of Duluth, Ga., Benjamin Simpson of Lexington, Ky., and Brad Mason of Dallas, are tied in third at 1-under-par 69.

In the Girls Division, Katahira struggled off the tee, but her short game kept her in contention, getting up and down seven times to save par.

“I plan to hit more fairways and greens tomorrow,” Katahira said. “Tomorrow I want to play better than I did today.”

Kim said she made a lot of putts, but had one bad hole, recording a double bogey on No. 14. She says she made a few bad decisions during the round, but it happens once in a while.

“I definitely had a better back nine, where I one-putted almost every hole, even though I missed the greens,” Kim said. “Tomorrow I want to be consistent and do the same thing again, except for having a double bogey; I want to par every hole.”

Ayaka Kaneko of Honolulu, shot a 4-over-par 74, to round out the top three in the Girls Division.

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 at 7 a.m. off the No. 1 tee Thursday at Bellefonte Country Club. For more information about the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior, please contact tournament headquarters at (606) 326-1744.