THE JUNIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. • September 3 - 6
WYATT CATCHES FIRE, TAKES THREE-SHOT LEAD AT THE JUNIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Bobby Wyatt of Mobile, Ala., fired a 6-under-par 66 at the TPC Sawgrass - THE PLAYERS Stadium Course Friday to take the lead by three shots at The Junior PLAYERS Championship. Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., sits alone in second after he shot a 3-under-par 69.
In cooperation with the PGA TOUR, the American Junior Golf Association has brought 78 players, ages 12-18, from 18 states and 15 foreign countries to TPC Sawgrass for a special junior golf experience. The Junior PLAYERS Championship is mirrored after THE PLAYERS and is being played at THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. The par-72 layout was set-up at 7,215 yards, the same as the PGA TOUR event that brings together the deepest tournament field in professional golf. Tournament participants were furnished with professional caddies, access to the TOUR locker room and tournament gifts that give this event a PGA TOUR-like feel.
Wyatt started out on fire and never cooled down. He birdied two of his first three holes, which included a chip-in on No. 2. He went on to drain a 15-foot putt on No. 3, a 177-yard par 3. The tough Stadium Course succumbed to his talent as he recorded seven birdies against only one bogey. Getting off to a good start was key to shooting such a low score.
“I chipped in on No. 2 out of the bunker, so that kind of got me going and got me excited,” Wyatt said. “I made a good putt on No. 3 which kept the momentum going.”
Getting off to a good start is key, and so is finishing strong. On a course that shows its teeth on the last three holes, Wyatt showed his teeth right back as he made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 16 and 17. He followed his two birdies with a fantastic two-putt for par on the 462-yard par-4 18th.
“It's exciting coming down the stretch here,” Wyatt said. “I hit a good flop shot on No. 16 to within the leather for birdie. All I wanted was to hit the green on No. 17 and did; it was a bonus to drop the 20-footer in for birdie. Making the long putt for par on No. 18 will help me take momentum into tomorrow.”
Jim Liu of Smithtown, N.Y., sits alone in second after he shot a 3-under-par 69. Tied for third are Blake Biddle of St. Charles, Ill., and Anton Arboleda of La Canada, Calif., each shot 2-under-par 70. Patrick Rodgers of Avon, Ind., Lucas Bjerregaard of Frederikshavn, Denmark, Joey Garber of Petoskey, Mich., Patrick Cantlay of Los Alamitos, Calif., Franco Castro of Alpharetta, Ga., Zhong Yang Fu of Bradenton, Fla., and Jorge Fernandez Valdes of Cordoba, Argentina, are all tied for fifth after each shot 1-under-par 71.
THE PLAYERS Championship annually combines the best field in golf with the world-class venue that is THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. PricewaterhouseCoopers, JELD-WEN and UBS are the exclusive Proud Partners of THE PLAYERS.
Proceeds from THE PLAYERS benefit Northeast Florida charities. Since 1977, when THE PLAYERS Championship moved to Ponte Vedra, more than $31 million has been contributed to Northeast Florida charities, including a record of $3 million donation in 2008.
About the AJGA
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 50 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 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, Morgan Pressel and Julieta Granada.
Tee times for Saturday's second round will run from 8 — 9:48 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees of The PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. For more information regarding The Junior PLAYERS Championship, contact Tournament Headquarters at (770) 601-8922.