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Coosa Country Club
Rome, Ga. • June 25 - 28

Ernst cards 5-under-par 66 for top spot at Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic

ROME, Ga. — Colin Chapman of Franklin, N.C., sits alone atop the leaderboard in the Boys Division at 1-under-par 139 -disbanding yesterday's five-way tie for first. In the Girls Division, Austin Ernst, of Seneca, S.C., shaved six strokes off of her first-round 72, capturing the lead with a 4-under-par 138 tournament total.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Coosa Country Club. The 99-player field features players from 20 states and Canada. The course is being played at a 6,804 yard par-70 in the Boys Division and a 5,946 yard par-71 in the Girls Division.

Seventeen-year-old Chapman was at even par on No. 16 green when a one-hour rain delay hit. He said that he stepped up his game after seeing the scoreboard during the delay. With only two holes to go, he realized that all he needed was a birdie for the lead.

“When the rain delay started I thought I was getting lapped,” Chapman said. “But I came in and saw the scoreboard and thought, ‘I can do better than that.' I went back out and putted for birdie on No. 16.”

Chapman, who's playing his first AJGA tournament, birdied No. 16. After that, he parred out to maintain the lead with a 1-over-par 71 second round and a 139 tournament total.

“You never know what's going to happen when you sit around for an hour and then go back out,” Chapman said.

Four players are one back and tied for second at even par 140. They are Jack Yancey, of Rome, Ga., Namsub Padungsiriseth of North Augusta, S.C., Brian Carter of Augusta, Ga., and Jonathan Randolph of Brandon, Miss. Three of these players — Yancey, Pandungsiriseth and Carter — also are making their AJGA tournament debut.

In the Girls Division, Ernst, who won the Ringgold Telephone Company Junior Classic this year and placed 11th in this tournament last year, moved into the lead Wednesday after carding seven birdies. The 15-year-old said she hit the ball much closer to the hole and made more putts to make a second-round turnaround.

“I think I can win this as long as I shoot around even par or a couple under tomorrow,” Ernst said.

Katie Burnett of Brunswick, Ga., moved up a spot to second place after recording an even-par 71 for an even-par tournament total after round two. Madison Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla., Zakiya Randall of Atlanta, Ga., and Haley Sanders of Rogers, Ark., all share third place with scores of 1-over-par 143.

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 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 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.

The third round of the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic will begin at 7:30 off the No. 1 tee at Coosa Country Club. For more information about the Burgett H. Mooney, Jr. Rome Classic, please contact Tournament Headquarters at (678) 936-0163.