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Spires, Spicer are Carolinas Young Amateur leaders
Jackson Spires and Jessica Spicer lead their respective divisions <br>(Photos Courtesy of East Carolina and Virginia Tech)
Jackson Spires and Jessica Spicer lead their respective divisions
(Photos Courtesy of East Carolina and Virginia Tech)

PINEHURST, NC (December 28, 2016) -- East Carolina University redshirt junior Jackson Spires of Fayetteville, N.C. began the Carolinas Young Amateur by recording seven birdies enroute to a 6- under 66 and will carry a one-stroke lead into Thursday's final round. Spires game has been trending upward. After placing fifth at the Eastern Amateur this summer, last week he finished tied for third at the Country Club of North Carolina Amateur.

Starting on hole No. 13, Spires reached the par- 5 in two shots for a two-putt birdie. His seventh and final birdie came on the 189-yard par-3 seventh hole, by virtue of hitting a six-iron to four-feet. "I was knocking it close all day," said 22-year-old Spires. "It was nice, there wasn't too much stress."

Elon University senior Troy Beaver of Salisbury, N.C. is alone is second place at 5-under 67. Twelve total men posted under-par rounds on Wednesday.

WOMEN'S DIVISION

Jessica Spicer of Durham, N.C., a freshman at Virginia Tech University, mixed two birdies and two bogeys to card an even-par 72 to lead the Women's Division. Playing in her first Carolinas Young Amateur, it took awhile for Spicer's putter to get used to the Magnolia Course. On No. 10, a 25-foot par putt added to her confidence. "It's nice to play again with girls I grew up playing junior golf against," said 19-year-old Spicer, who was the 2014 Carolinas Junior Girls' Player of the Year.

2013 and 2015 Women's Division champion Sarah Bae of Pinehurst, N.C. trails Spicer by one- stroke along with 2014 South Carolina Junior Match Play champ Morgan Cox of Easley, S.C. and Reona Hirai of Summerville, S.C. at 1-over-par 73.

Thursday's final round will begin with a 11:00 a.m. shotgun start. The tournament format is 36- holes of stroke play for male and female amateur golfers ages 18 to 25 from North Carolina or South Carolina who have finished high school and have a current USGA handicap Index at a CGA member club.

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ABOUT THE Carolinas Young Amateur

Entry is open to any male or female amateur golfer between the ages of 18 and 25 who have finished high school who is a legal resident of North or South Carolina, is a member in good standing of a club which is a member of the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA) and has a current USGA handicap index at a CGA member club. The championship format is 36 holes of stroke play.

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