With one round down and one to go, the title of champion is up for grabs in the boys 16-18 age division of the Optimist International Tournament of Champions at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Tied for first place after the first round on Saturday with a 1-under 71 are Johnny Widmer of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and Christopher Miller of Washington, D.C. In a three-way tie for third with 73 for the day are Minghao Wang of Reunion, Fla.; Kyle Kopsick of Lake Bluff, Ill.; and Michael Wuertz of Davenport, Iowa.
In sixth place and just three strokes out of first place is Matthew Stasiak of Clarence, N.Y. Rounding out the top 10 and 3 over for the day are Lee Bedford of Cary, N.C.; Nathan Sutherland of Wyomissing, Pa.; Hunter Spitler of Sarasota, Fla.; and Andrew Kay of Pittsford, N.Y.
The Tournament of Champions is a 36-hole, stroke-play invitational that showcases some of the most talented young players in the world. Golfers from 25 states in the United States, three Canadian provinces and eight other nations are competing in the second annual tournament, which is ranked by Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golfweek and is included in the AJGA Performance Based Entry process.
Forty-nine boys are competing in the boys 16-18 division; 29 boys are competing in the boys 14-15 division; and 20 girls are competing in the girls 14-18 division. All players are competing on the Champion course, which will be home to the Honda Classic in March 2007.
Players were invited to apply for a spot in the tournament based on their performance in Optimist-sponsored tournaments and other leading tournaments on the junior golf circuit. The Optimist Junior Golf Program has made a name for itself over the past decade with the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships played each July at PGA National. More than 650 players ages 10 to 18 compete in the event each year. Top players from the summer event and its qualifying tournaments, top players from the inaugural Tournament of Champions in 2005 as well as leading players from other selected tournaments were extended invitations to apply for the Tournament of Champions. The top applicants were then accepted to compete.
In conjunction with the Junior Golf Scoreboard, Live!Scoring is regularly updating scores throughout the Tournament of Champions. Tee times and complete playing fields are also available. Viewers can keep updated about the tournament by going to www.optimist.org, selecting ‘Junior Golf’ and clicking on ‘Live!Scoring’ on the screen that follows or by going to www.juniorgolfresults.com and clicking on the tournament name.