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Monday, December 28, 2009

Denmark's Daisy Nielsen shares girls' lead in Florida

Manassero's putting 'great' - he leads Junior

Orange Bowl boys with a five-under-par 65

FROM DAVID MACKINTOSH, Coral Gables, Florida
British Amateur champion, 16-year old Matteo Manassero from Rome, took charge of the boys' opening round of the Junior Orange Bowl international junior championships with a blistering six-birdie, five-under-par 65 for a two-stroke lead.
"I can't say I that played perfectly," he said. "I missed several shots, but fortunately the misses were on the good side, which meant I was able to get chips close to save pars. What was great was my putting, and that is really why I was able to score low today."
Three were tied on 67: Manassero's compatriot Andrea Bolognesi, French men's champion Romain Wattel and United States' Curtis Thompson, who between them carded 16 birdies. In benign conditions under sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s, 16 boys finished on level par or better.
Played over 72 holes stroke-play on the famed Donald Ross-designed Biltmore course, the Junior Orange Bowl International championships are for boys and girls age 18 and under and features top young amateur golfers from around the world.
Thailand's Moriya Jutanugarn and Denmark's Daisy Nielson, pictured above by Cal Carson Golf Agency, set the first round pace in the girls' division, tied on one-under par 69, two strokes ahead of a group of six players carding 71 that includes favourite Alexis Thompson.
Bangkok's Jutanugarn, 15, the Asia Pacific junior champion, produced three back-nine birdies to tie Nielson, 15, the Danish ladies match-play champion, who recovered strongly after a double-bogey at her third hole.
Florida's Thompson, is just 14 but already a major force in women's golf in America. This year she reached the final round of the US Women's Open. Last year she lost the JOB girls' championship to Argentina's Victoria Tanco in an enthralling six-hole play-off.
Thompson's one-over par round was marred by a double-bogey at the par-3 eighth while defending champion Tanco, after a delayed flight from South America, reached the Biltmore course with barely time to step into her golf shoes, yet produced a meritorious 73 after opening her day with a 7.
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