USGA Junior Amateur Champonship

LONGMEADOW, MA (July 18, 2005) -- John Powers, 17, of Bowling Green, Ohio, and Chris Carlin, 15, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., each made six birdies and shot 4-under-par 66 Monday morning to share the early lead halfway through the first round of stroke play at the U.S. Junior Amateur at Longmeadow Country Club.

Each was even lower than four under at one point before giving a few shots back near the end of the round.

“Bogeys are going to happen,” said Powers, who was six under after 11 holes. “But when I birdied two of the first four holes, I was feeling pretty good about myself.”

Carlin jumped out to an even better start, with birdies on four of his first five holes. He shared the round with his grandfather, Ralph Federici, as his caddie. Federici introduced him to the game and has been working with him over the years.

“We’ve been doing this for 10 years, and he’s ready,” said the proud grandfather. “I told Chris he’d be the only one out here who’d be going, ‘Hit one, drag grandpa,’ all day.”

Defending champion Sihwan Kim, 16, of Fullerton, Calif.; three-time qualifier Charlie Harris, 17, of Fresno, Calif.; and 15-year-old John Popeck of Washington, Pa., were a stroke back at 3-under 67. With half the field completing its first round, just 11 of the 78 golfers were under par.

"I have some expectations, admitted Kim, who says he’s playing better and with more confidence than when he won last summer.

Among those on the course in the afternoon were Kevin Tway and Shaun O’Meara, sons of prominent PGA Tour golfers, and Sam Saunders, grandson of Arnold Palmer. Bob Tway flew direct from the Sunday’s British Open to watch his son play.

The second round of match play is set for Tuesday before the field is trimmed to the low 64 scorers, who will advance into match play on Wednesday. The championship continues through Saturday, with a 36-hole final to determine the winner.

ABOUT THE U.S. Junior Amateur

While it is not the oldest competition, the U.S. Junior Amateur is considered the premier junior competition, having been around since 1948. The event is open to male golfers who have not reached their 18th birthday prior to the close of competition and whose USGA Handicap Index does not exceed 6.4. The U.S. Junior is one of 13 national championship conducted annually by the USGA, 10 of which are strictly for amateurs.

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