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Traditions Club at Texas A&M
Bryan, Texas • March 20 - 23

Popelka leads Girls Division by one shot after first day at AJGA Championship at Traditions

BRYAN, Texas — Jordan Spieth of Dallas, carded seven birdies en route to an opening-round 70 and a two-shot lead at the AJGA Championship at Traditions. In the Girls Division, Sherlyn Popelka of Reunion, Fla., recorded an even-par 72 to grab a one-shot cushion heading into Saturday's second round at the Traditions Club at Texas A&M.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the AJGA Championship at Traditions is being held at the Traditions Club at Texas A&M. The tournament field consists of 87 boys and 51 girls, ages 12-18, from 17 states and four foreign countries. Sixty-six hail from the home state of Texas. The Boys Division is playing the par-72 layout at 7,047 yards, while the Girls Division is being played at 6,135 yards.

After a bogey on his eighth hole led to a 1-under-par front nine, Spieth said the turning point in his round was on his 10th and 11th holes. He notched birdies on both holes after close approach shots, and said he built momentum for the rest of his round.

“I hit the ball great and struck my irons the best I have in a long time,” Spieth said. “I made a couple good bogey and par saves, and I feel I can shave a couple more strokes tomorrow.”

Brian Dwyer of Southlake, Texas, sits alone in second at even-par 72, while Talor Gooch of Midwest City, Okla., and Ryan O'Rear of Salado, Texas, are tied for third at 1-over-par 73. Tied for fifth at 2-over-par 74 are Mark Pollak of San Antonio, Texas, Eli Juren of Austin, Hunter Sparks of Oklahoma City, Drew Dorsey of Edmond, Okla., and Seth Reeves of Duluth, Ga.

In the Girls Division, Popelka began her even-par round with birdies on Nos. 10, 15 and 16, and finished with 10 consecutive pars. With pars filling her scorecard on her back nine, Popelka said she refocused on her gameplan as she made the turn.

“I played more evenly on the back nine,” Popelka said. “I tried to get back to my gameplan and hit more fairways and greens. You have to place the ball well on this course, so I tried to focus on where I wanted to hit it and hit it there.”

Erynne Lee of Silverdale, Wash., sits one shot behind at 1-over-par 73. Tied for third at 2-over-par 74 are Alexis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., Crystal Reeves of Broken Arrow, Okla., and Mary Michael Maggio of Conway, Ark.

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.

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 for the AJGA Championship at Traditions will run from 8:10-9:40 a.m., and 12:30-2:09 p.m., off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at the Traditions Club at Texas A&M. For more information, please contact Tournament Director Jeremy Freyman at (678) 617-9917, or visit the AJGA Web site, ajga.org.