Nation’s top junior golfers vie at Country Club of the South

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JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — Seventy-eight premier junior golfers from around Georgia and the nation will compete at The Country Club of the South in Johns Creek, when the American Junior Golf Association stages the Exide Technologies Junior Open, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 15-17.

The tournament field, one of the strongest on the AJGA Open schedule, features eight Rolex Junior All-Americans and 13 juniors who have signed National Letters of Intent. The 78-player field boasts juniors from 13 states, including 32 from Georgia. Mexico will also be represented.

Headlining the Boys’ Division will be two-time Rolex Junior All-American and Alpharetta native Billy Kennerly. The Clemson commit has notched 13 top-10 finishes in national junior golf competition, most recently finishing in a tie for fifth at the HP Boys’ Championship at Carlton Woods, an AJGA invitation-only event.

A senior at Mount Pisgah Christian School, Kennerly finished runner-up at the Exide Technologies Junior Open in both 2009 and 2010, and will look to claim his first AJGA victory in his home-course tournament.

Also gunning for a win will be J.D. Tomlinson of Gainesville, Fla. Tomlinson is the highest-ranked boy in the field, sitting at No. 20 in the Polo Golf Rankings. He earned Second Team Rolex Junior All-America honors in 2010 on the strength of a win at the TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Junior at Innisbrook, along with three additional top-20 finishes. He finished fifth at the Exide Technologies Junior Open in 2010.

In the Girls’ Division, Simin Feng of Orlando, Fla., will return with the hopes of defending her 2010 title. Currently ranked No. 37 in the Polo Golf Rankings, Feng is a two-time Rolex Junior All-American and has clinched an additional three victories in her AJGA career, including the 2009 ANNIKA Invitational.

The Girls’ Division features strong talent, including Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale, Ga. Stackhouse, a junior at North Clayton High School, has won a pair of AJGA events in her junior career and is a two-time Rolex Junior All-American. She finished third at the Exide Technologies Junior Open in 2010, and followed that performance with four additional top-10 finishes in national competition last year, including a victory at the AJGA Junior at Steelwood presented by AT&T.

The tournament practice round on Friday will be an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Tournament rounds will start from the Nos. 1 and 10 tees of The Country Club of the South Saturday and Sunday, from 8 – 10 a.m. each day. Admission is free of charge, and spectators are welcome to attend.

Johns Creek