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Bellefonte Country Club
Ashland, Ky. • June 16 - 19

Talley rises to top of girls leaderboard after first round at Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior

ASHLAND, Ky. — Josh Alford of Marion, Ark., and Tyler Smith of Brentwood, Tenn., lead the Boys Division in the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior after each carding a 4-under-par 66 in Wednesday's first round. Holding the lead in the Girls Division is Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., who completed the day at 2-under-par 68.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior is a 54-hole stroke play event held at Bellefonte Country Club in Ashland, Ky. The field features 90 boys and 30 girls, ages 12-18, from 20 states and Canada. The par-70 course is played at 6,034 yards in the Boys Division and 5,627 yards in the Girls Division.

Alford started off his round with a birdie on No. 1 and then kept the front nine consistent at 1-under-par 34. He cranked up his game on the back nine with three birdies.

“I kept it steady all day and didn't miss too many fairways or greens,” Alford said. “I honestly came in here trying to shoot around even. I've been struggling with lots of three and four-putts recently, but today I had none and I'm pleased with that.”

Also leading the Boys Division is Smith who was content with his performance today.

“I took advantage of the holes I needed to, made a couple good putts, and birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to close it out,” Smith said. “On No. 18 I was trying to hit the fairway and green and run away with 67, and I ended up with a birdie. I birdied the par-5s which was huge because they were short holes.”

One stroke behind the leaders at 3-under-par 67 are Hager Collins and Daniel DeLuca, both of Lexington, Ky., and Jordan Lowery of Gilbert, Ariz.

Talley has a five-stroke lead in the Girls Division. She stayed steady all day with birdies on Nos. 4, 11, 14, and 18.

“I was on a par trial at first, but I had about a 30-foot birdie putt on No. 4 that helped me get going,” Talley said. “I spent most of the day in the fairway, so that was a plus. I'm going to work on my approach shots for tomorrow since the distance wasn't quite there. Hopefully I can shoot under every day and stay on top.”

Tied for second at 3-over-par 73s are Taylor Manning of Brentwood, Tenn., and Emily Haas of Nicholasville, Ky.

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 50 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 200 former AJGA juniors currently play on the PGA and LPGA Tours and have compiled more than 350 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 Natural Resource Partners Bluegrass Junior will run from 7 a.m. — 1 p.m. off the No. 1 tee Thursday, June 18. For more information contact Tournament Headquarters at 606-326-1741.