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Hawthorn Woods Country Club
Hawthorn Woods, Ill. • July 23 - 26

Lavin atop Girls Division leaderboard after round one at Hawthorn Woods Country Club

HAWTHORN WOODS, Ill. —  Jace Long of Dixon, Mo., and Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo, Mich., are tied for the lead at 5-under-par 67 in the Boys Division after Tuesday's first round of the Midwest Junior Players Championship at Hawthorn Woods Country Club. Jamie Lavin of Deerfield, Ill., leads the Girls Division with even-par 72 after the first round.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Midwest Junior Players Championship is a 54-hole stroke play event being held at Hawthorn Woods Country Club. The tournament field consists of 75 boys and 24 girls from 18 states and two foreign country. The Boys Division is playing the course at 6,912 yards, while the Girls Division is playing at 6,133 yards.

At 13 years old, Long was the youngest player to win an AJGA event at the 2003 Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Kingwood and won the Houchens Industries Junior Open in June. After making par on the first five holes, Long started to get a handle on his game with a birdie on No. 6, followed by a 15-foot putt for eagle on No. 7.

“Tomorrow my goal is for zero bogeys and to get off to a better start,” Long said. “I plan on hitting the ball the same way I did during the round today.”

Kelpin, playing his third AJGA tournament, is pretty happy with his game after the first round. Even though he made a bogey on No. 18, he was happy to birdie the 200 yard par-3 15th hole, sinking a 15-foot putt.

“I'm pretty happy with the way I played today,” Kelpin said. “I plan on doing the same tomorrow, putt well.”

Wes Strang of Bethesda, Md., Tyler Downing of Sturgis, Mich., and Adam Sumrall of South Bend, Ind., are tied for third at 4-under-par 68.

In the Girls Division, Lavin began her tournament week off on the right foot by earning medalist honors in the Srixon Qualifier Sunday. Lavin gained confidence after an eagle putt on No. 6, which gave her momentum for the rest of the round. Lavin felt she hit the ball well and had her short game working. She said she played a smart round and didn't put herself in any risky situations.

“I felt I was able to strategize well today, and I plan on doing the same tomorrow,” Lavin said. “I'm just going to play smart and avoid mistakes for the tournament.”

Milena Savich of Carmel, Ind., is in second at 1-over-par 73, while Jennifer Kirby of Paris, Ontario, sits in third at 2-over-par 74 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. Wednesday off the No. 1 tee at Hawthorn Woods Country Club. For more information about the Midwest Junior Players Championship, please contact tournament headquarters at (847) 847-3267, extension 267.