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Junior golfers will converge on area for Howell tournament

Posted: Sunday, July 04, 2010

The American Junior Golf Association is set for a return to the Evans area for the third installment of the Charles Howell III Junior Championship.

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For the second consecutive year, the tournament will be held at West Lake Country Club after it debuted at Champions Retreat Golf Club in 2008.

Play will start Wednesday for 132 juniors -- boys and girls -- ages 12-18. A cut will be made after Thursday's second round, and play will conclude Friday. A practice round is scheduled for Tuesday.

Tee times for the first two rounds will run from 7:45-9:15 a.m. off of the No. 1 tee and 12:15-1:45 p.m. off of No. 10. For Friday's final round, players will go off of No. 1 from 7:45-9:33 a.m.

On Monday at Forest Hills Golf Club, 100 juniors will compete in a qualifier for the final remaining spots. Up for grabs will be nine entries for the boys and three for the girls.

Thirteen states are represented among the players who will be competing, with more than 50 golfers hailing from Georgia.

AJGA Tournament Director Courtney Jones believes players enjoy traveling to the area for the event because of its rich golf history.

"Just the history around the Masters and golf in Augusta with Bobby Jones," Jones said. "To me, as a golfer, and for all the tournament participants, it's an exciting opportunity for them."

Jones noted that a recent bit of golf history might have an effect, too. Numerous college golf coaches will be on hand, getting a look at prospective athletes, and Augusta is now the home of the men's national championship golf team after Augusta State took the title in early June.

"It's a great opportunity for junior boys to be playing right in the backyard of the national champions," Jones said.

Last year, Anna Kim, of Chandler, Ariz., won the girls title. Auburn, Ga., junior Drew Czuchry took the boys crown by one stroke over a pair of players, including recent Lakeside High School graduate Kelby Burton.

Burton, who has signed to play golf at Kennesaw State University in the fall, is among a group of 13 Columbia County juniors competing in the tournament.

Jones said conditions couldn't be better. "The warm weather and the rain have been really good for West Lake," she said of the course. "It's in prime condition, and it's going to be a great test of golf this week."



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