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Conners, Cover and Joiner tied for the lead at the JoS. A. Bank / David Leadbetter Championship

By   /   August 22, 2013  /   Comments

Special to the Journal

ELLICOTT CITY, MD —Kevin Conners of Downington, Pa., Patrick Cover of Huntersville, N.C., and Tyler Joiner of Albany, Ga., sit tied at the top of the Boys Division at 3-under-par 139. In the Girls Division, Khushboo Thiagaraj of Haymarket, Va., sits one-stroke ahead of the competition after shooting a 3-over-par 74 in the second-round.

Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the JoS. A. Bank / David Leadbetter Championship is a 54-hole stroke play competition on the par-71 Original Course at Turf Valley Resort. The event features 107 boys and 36 girls, ages 12-18, from 19 states, Washington D.C., Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, India and South Korea. The Boys Division is playing the course at 6,692 yards, while the Girls Division is playing the course at 5,947 yards.

At the top of the leaderboard for the second day in a row, Conners was able to stay patient and take advantage of the par-5s en route to a second-round score of even-par 71.

“[Tomorrow] I want to play my own game and record my own scores,” said Conners of his game plan to combat the three-way tie for first.

Cover, who received the 2013 USGA-AJGA Presidents’ Leadership Award for demonstrating leadership, character and community service through his involvement with the Leadership Links program, is in the hunt for his first AJGA victory.

The rising high school senior, who has given a verbal commitment to continue his golf career at UNC- Wilmington, thought that overall his round of 1-under-par 70 was a step in the right direction.

“I didn’t want to think too much about it,” Cover said. “I liked the course, and after playing the practice round, I really thought it fit my game. I just wanted to get out there and play golf.”

Joiner, who has recorded six top-20 finishes in AJGA competition, used a 5-under-par 66 to propel himself to the top of the leaderboard.

Alone in fourth place is Ryoto Furuya of Wesley Chapel, Fla., at even-par 142. Tied for fifth are Chad McCann of Haymarket, Va., and Owen Bates of Mississauga, Ontario at 1-over-par 143.

In the Girls Division, Thiagaraj used strong putting to maintain her lead over the remainder of the field. Thiagaraj, who began her round on No. 10, used a birdie on the par-3 No. 13 to finish her first nine holes at 1-under-par 34.

Taking a one-shot lead into Thursday’s final round, Thiagaraj hopes to complete her wire-to-wire victory. At the AJGA Junior at Penn State in June, Thiagaraj fired rounds of 73-73-77, to finish at 7-over-par 223. Her second place finish in State College was her highest AJGA finish to date.

“My second-place finish at Penn State really taught me a lot,” Thiagaraj said. “I’ll just need to keep calm and keep my focus.”

Currently in second place is Julie Luo of Centreville, Va., at 1-over-par 143. Tied for third are Allison Wong of Rockville, Md., Clementina Rodriguez of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Katharine Patrick of West University Place, Texas at 6-over-par 148.

Final-round tee times will run from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. off the Nos. 1 and 10 tees at Turf Valley Resort – The Original Course. For more information about the JoS. A. Bank / David Leadbetter Championship, please contact Tournament Director Chris White at (770) 601-5196.

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