David Leadbetter Golf Academy students off to strong start in AJGA Hilton Head Junior All-Star

July 21, 2010 

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Joe Philaphet, 13, of Riverdale Ga., plays out of a bunker on hole No. 18 during TuesdayÂ’s opening round of the AJGA Hilton Head Junior All-Star on the South Course Berkeley Hall Golf Club in Bluffton.

SARAH WELLIVER

When his friend Rodrigo Munoz rolled in a testy 8-foot par putt on his final hole Tuesday, Rigel Fernandes provided more encouragement than anyone, even though seeing that putt drop meant Fernandes would finish the day in second place, rather than a tie for first.

Munoz was aware of the situation, too, but he wasn't surprised to hear his fellow David Leadbetter Golf Academy student cheering him on.

"He's my friend," Munoz said. "That's what we do for friends."

The pals will enter today's second round of the AJGA's Hilton Head Junior All-Star hoping to maintain their position at the top of the leaderboard, as Munoz carded a 2-under-par 70 on the South Course at Berkeley Hall Club to claim a one-shot lead over Fernandes and Matthew Beringer.

Reona Hirai of Summerville shot 3-under-par 69 and leads the girls division by one shot over Rachel Dai of Suwanee, Ga.

Hirai, a former Hilton Head Prep student, made three birdies in a bogey-free round, prompting her brother -- Winthrop standout Kamito Hirai -- to say he "didn't see it coming" from his younger sister.

"I didn't see it coming either," Reona Hirai said with a laugh. "I just had a really good round. I hope I can do it tomorrow."

Unlike Hirai, no one in the boys' field was able to break into the 60s, though Fernandes certainly had the opportunity. He hit 17 of 18 greens, but didn't make a putt outside of five feet.

"My home course and the greens I was prepping on were not half as quick as this," said Fernandes, who has finished second and fifth in his first two AJGA starts. "I flew in two nights ago and didn't get to practice yesterday, so this was my first time putting on these greens."

Putting was no problem for Munoz. Equipped with his a new putter -- his grandfather's Scotty Cameron model he recently had customized -- the first-year Leadbetter Academy student started on No. 10 and rolled in four birdies on the back nine and one on the front. His only mistakes were a bogey at No. 11 and a double bogey at No. 1.

"I wasn't hitting the ball great at all," Munoz said, "but the holes I did put it inside 10 or 15 feet, I made every single putt, so that was the difference today."

He credited grandpa's old putter, which he just started using two weeks ago at the Sean O'Hair Junior All-Star Championship, where he tied for 11th.

"It's pretty cool," Munoz said. "It makes everything inside of 10 feet, so I can't complain."

The O'Hair event was Munoz's first AJGA start, and he shot 77 in the opening round before climbing to 11th with rounds of 72 and 69.

He won't have to make up all that ground this week.

"This time I started strong," Munoz said, "and I'm going to finish strong."

Scores after Tuesday's first round of the AJGA Hilton Head Junior All-Star, played on the par-72 South Course at Berekeley Hall Club.

BOYS

Rodrigo Munoz 70

Rigel Fernandes 71

Matthew Beringer 71

Jordan Batchelor 72

Corey Carlson 73

Daniel Jaramillo 73

Ramsey Touchberry 73

Mills Poynor 73

Austin Morrison 73

Zach Botts 74

Dillon Woods 74

Matthew Plunkett 74

Eric Edwards 74

Michael Pisciotta 74

Osama Khan 74

Tyler Young 75

Ben Dietrich 75

Wade Chen 75

Timothy Colanta 75

Matthew Cribb 75

Tyler Moore 75

Tony Mak 75

Preston Heyward 76

Thomas Walsh 76

Scott Jaster 76

Zachary Martin 76

Ryan Lamb 77

Cole Hunsucker 77

Bernardo Curbelo 77

Davis Morrison 77

William Gordon 77

Brandon Pierce 78

Kyle Sterbinsky 78

Christopher Gonzalez 78

Joe Philaphet 78

Kyle Austin 78

Bobby Jacobs 79

Taylor McCullum 79

Tanner Owen 79

Bryson Nimmer 79

Derrick Villarreal 79

Ben Schlottman 79

Cole Berman 79

Terrence Zhang 79

Noah Edmondson 80

William Register 81

Ethan DeForest 81

Bennett Wisner 82

Sibo Yan 82

Dylan Patscot 83

Harrison Brown 83

Christian Cichan 83

Gavin deFisser 83

Stuart Smith 84

Nate Strigenz 85

Jason Rhodin 87

Bret Howey 87

Steven Tanen 88

William Voetsch 90

Will Miles 104

GIRLS

Reona Hirai 69

Rachel Dai 70

Michaela Owen 74

Alexandra White 75

Sammi Lee 75

Lauren Gros 76

Marianna Zanghetti 79

Elizabeth Kim 80

Mary Ellen Shuman 80

Tatum Jackson 80

Sarah Harrison 82

Sara Riascos 82

Helen Kim 83

Kensington Wieland 85

Rachel Oates 87

Allison Shilling 90

Madi Mae West 92

TEE TIMES

Tee times for today's second round of the AJGA Hilton Head Junior All-Star, to be played on the par-72 South Course at Berekeley Hall Club. All times a.m.

No. 1 tee

7:30 -- Bennett Wisner, Hampstead, Md.; Derrick Villarreal, Hartland, Wis.; Austin Morrison, Charlotte, N.C.

7:39 -- Ethan DeForest, Cottikill, N.Y.; Bret Howey, Nazareth, Pa.; Davis Morrison, Charlotte, N.C.

7:48 -- Michael Pisciotta, Alpharetta, Ga.; Sibo Yan, San Diego, Calif.; Ben Schlottman, Advance, N.C.

7:57 -- Gavin deFisser, Gilbert, Ariz.; William Gordon, Davidson, N.C.; Jordan Batchelor, St. Johns, Fla.

8:06 -- Cole Berman, Rosemont, Pa.; Rodrigo Munoz, Bradenton, Fla.; Zachary Martin, Pinehurst, N.C.

8:15 -- Osama Khan, St. James, Barbados; Noah Edmondson, Davidson, N.C.; Terrence Zhang, Orlando, Fla.

8:24 -- Tyler Young, Kennesaw, Ga.; Dillon Woods, Jacksonville, Fla.; William Register, Burlington, N.C.

8:33 -- Ben Dietrich, Conover, N.C.; Matthew Plunkett, St. Augustine, Fla.; Will Miles, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

8:42 -- Bobby Jacobs, Valparaiso, Ind.; Dylan Patscot, Wales, Wis.; Cole Hunsucker, Kennesaw, Ga.

8:51 -- Matthew Cribb, Roswell, Ga.; Steven Tanen, Syosset, N.Y.; William Voetsch, New Vernon, N.J.

9:00 -- Tanner Owen, High Point, N.C.; Ramsey Touchberry, Bradenton, Fla.; Harrison Brown, Marietta, Ga.

9:09 -- Jason Rhodin, Asheville, N.C.; Tyler Moore, Escondido, Calif.; Mills Poynor, Birmingham, Ala.

9:18 -- Scott Jaster, Bryn Mawr, Pa.; Kyle Austin, Mebane, N.C.; Stuart Smith, Knoxville, Tenn.

No. 10 tee

7:30 -- Wade Chen, Orlando, Fla.; Preston Heyward, Duluth, Ga.; Timothy Colanta, Monroe Township, N.J.

7:39 -- Christopher Gonzalez, Coconut Creek, Fla.; Taylor McCullum, Hoover, Ala.; Joe Philaphet, Riverdale, Ga.

7:48 -- Thomas Walsh, High Point, N.C.; Bryson Nimmer, Bluffton, S.C.; Bernardo Curbelo, Bradenton, Fla.

7:57 -- Tsz Fung "Tony" Mak, Richmond, B.C., Canada; Christian Cichan, Charlotte, N.C.; Matthew Beringer, Macon, Ga.

8:06 -- Zach Botts, Jonesborough, Tenn.; Brandon Pierce, Covington, La.; Rigel Fernandes, Bradenton, Fla.

8:15 -- Ryan Lamb, Easley, S.C.; Nate Strigenz, Fond du Lac, Wis.; Kyle Sterbinsky, Yardley, Pa.

8:24 -- Corey Carlson, Green Cove Springs, Fla.; Eric Edwards, Salisbury, N.C.; Daniel Jaramillo, Medellin, Colombia

8:33 -- Kensington Wieland, Loudon, Tenn.; Marianna Zanghetti, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Helen Kim, Gilbert, Ariz.

8:42 -- Allison Shilling, New Canaan, Conn.; Madi Mae West, Anderson, S.C.; Sarah Harrison, Martinez, Ga.

8:51 -- Sara Riascos, Bogota, Colombia; Reona Hirai, Summerville, S.C.; Rachel Oates, Rye, N.Y.

9:00 -- Alexandra White, Honolulu, Hawaii; Rachel Dai, Suwanee, Ga.; Michaela Owen, Alpharetta, Ga.

9:09 -- Elizabeth Kim, Martinez, Ga.; Lauren Gros, Gainesville, Fla.

9:18 -- Mary Ellen Shuman, St. Simons Island, Ga.; Sammi Lee, Winter Park, Fla.; Tatum Jackson, Mountain Brook, Ala.

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