ALVATON, Ky. – Jace Long of Dixon, Mo., shot 2-under-par 70 to lead the first round of the Boys Division at the Houchens Industries Junior Open Tuesday at The Club at Olde Stone. Emma Talley of Princeton, Ky., leads the Girls Division after shooting 2-over-par 74.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Houchens Industries Junior Open at The Club at Olde Stone is a 54-hole stroke-play event. The first-round of the tournament was an 18-hole shotgun. The tournament field consists of 73 boys and 24 girls from 18 states. The Boys Division is playing the course from 6,787 yards and the Girls Division from 5,799 yards.
At 13-years-old, Long was the youngest player to win an AJGA event at the Nike Golf Junior All-Star Classic at Kingwood in 2003. Even though he missed his practice round, Long said he felt very strong off the tee only, missing three fairways and hitting 14 greens. He approached this course knowing he just needed to hit fairways and greens and make the putts. Long was 3-under-par through his first six holes and continued to play smooth through the rest of his round.
“I love this course. I played here last year and wanted to come back,” Long said. “If you hit the ball well here, you get rewarded and you just need to try and avoid three putts.”
After the first round, Michael Cress of Dublin, Ohio, is in second at 1-under-par 71. Tying for third place are Wilson Bowen of Winnetka, Ill., Joe David of Madison, Tenn., and Benjamin Cohen of Pittsburgh, Pa., at 1-over-par 73.
In the Girls Division, Talley, like Long, played in the tournament last year. She felt coming into the tournament she knew what she had to do, not miss a fairway and make the putt. Talley felt she had an advantage because she knew where she needed to hit the ball and where to avoid. Starting on No. 10, Talley was able to finish the back nine by making birdies on three of the last four holes.
“Tomorrow I am just going to play the back nine better and try and get par on every hole,” Talley said. “I know that I want to switch a few clubs on a hole and I’m just going to keep going.”
In the Girls Division, Daffodil Sanchez of Mesa, Ariz., is in second recording 4-over-par 76 and Aimee Neff of Carmel, Ind., sits in third at 6-over-par 78.
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.