The 2011 World Championship features 1208 youngsters from 39 countries and 48 states. Players have been divided into 13 age groups over nine courses in the Pinehurst and Southern Pines areas in North Carolina. The event kicked off with the Parade of Nations on Tuesday, as players marched with their country's fellow representatives into the Village of Pinehurst. Tournament rounds take place Thursday, August 4 through Saturday, August 5, and will conclude with the U.S. Kids Golf World Cup on Sunday, August 6.
Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Fla., came from behind to claim a victory in the Girls 7 & Under age group. She entered the final round two strokes behind Sky Sudberry of Spring, Texas, but made up the deficit after the first hole. Pano and Sudberry matched one another shot-for-shot over the next six holes, until Pano pulled away at the end to win by three. She closed it off with a birdie at the last hole, as she bookended her round with birdies, and parred the other seven holes. It is Pano's first World Championship victory in a promising young career. Sudberry finished the tournament at even-par 108, three behind Pano. Amari Avery of Riverside, Calif., finished in third place after shooting her second-consecutive even-par 36. Sophia Louis of Boca Raton, Fla., finished fourth at 4-over-par 112, while Airi Sugiura of Japan finished fifth at 5-over-par 113.
Romina Villanueva of Mexico completed an impressive comeback to win the Girls 8 division at Longleaf Golf and Country Club. She began the round two strokes behind second-round leader Mimi Chen of China. Villanueva came up with birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 when Chen came up with bogies, created a four-shot swing. It was just enough to separate the two by one stroke at the finish, as Villanueva claimed the narrow victory. Chen takes home the second-place trophy after closing with a final-round 1-over-par 37 and finishing at 2-over-par 110 for the tournament. First-round leader Elle Nachmann of Boca Raton, Fla., finished in third place after a final-round 1-over-par 37. She parred eight of her nine holes to earn one of the most consistent rounds of the tournament. Aishvarya Bedi of San Jose, Calif., and Alyssa Dimarcantonio of Canada tied for fourth position at 7-over-par 115.
Karah Sanford of Escondido, Calif., took nothing for granted on Saturday, as she fired a 4-under-par 32 to win the World Championship by eight strokes. She entered the final round with an eight-shot lead and continued to solidify her position on top, as she was 3-under-par through three holes and finished the tournament at 12-under-par 96. Emilie Alba Paltrinieri, who won the Girls 8 division in 2010, made a charge with a final-round 32 of her own, but Sanford never gave an inch. Paltrinieri finished alone in second at 4-under-par 104. Christine Wang of Houston finished under-par as well, ten strokes back of Sanford. Mogan Du of China, Michaela Morard of Huntsville, Ala., and Suzuka Yagi of Japan tied for fourth place at 1-over-par 109.
Anina Ku of Basking Ridge, N.J., held onto her substantial second-round lead to claim her spot atop the leaderboard in the Girls 10 division at 12-under-par 204. She posted a steady even-par 72, which was all she needed to hold her lead of seven shots. Ku's strongest challenge came from Monet Chun of Canada, who whiddled the deficit to four strokes after nine holes. But Ku was able to post a back-nine 35, erasing any doubt that she would take home the title. Chun claims second place for herself at 6-under-par for the tournament. Samantha Marie Bruce of the Philippines followed closely behind with a final-round 69 to get her to 5-under-par for the tournament. Catherine Lau of South Africa and Isabella Fierro of Mexico tied for fourth at 1-under-par 215.
Elizabeth Moon of Forrest City, Ark., completed a final-round comeback to claim the World Champion title in the Girls 11 age group. Trailing by two headed to the final round, she was 3-under-par on her round through 14 holes, opening up a five-stroke lead with four to play. Late birdies by Youngin Chun of South Korea threatened Moon's lead, but she hung on to win by one stroke. Chun, a World Champion in 2010, finished alone in second place. Gina Kim of nearby Chapel Hill, N.C., carded the only final round in the 60s and finished in third place at 1-under-par 215. Vanessa Manrique of Colombia finished fourth at even-par, while Hailey Jones of Dallas finished fifth at 4-over-par 220.
Clare Amelia Legaspi of the Philippines recorded her record-tying fifth World Championship Saturday, closing with a 1-under-par 71 to finish the tournament at 4-under-par 212. She ties Marijosse Navarro in the all-time U.S. Kids Golf record books with five World Championship victories. Four players have recorded four such victories. Legaspi finished three strokes clear of Kayley Marschke of Suwanee, Ga., who gave Legaspi a challenge all week. Marschke carded a final-round 72 to wind up at 1-under-par 215 for the tournament. Three players tied for third place, as Muni He of Canada, Jacinta Pikunas of Youngstown, Ohio, and Haley Moore of Escondido, Calif., all finished at 1-over-par 217.
Allan Kournikova of Palm Beach, Fla., cruised to a victory in the Boys 6 & Under division, as he continued his mastery of Midland Country Club. Kournikova, who entered the round with a two-stroke lead, made an eagle on No. 3 and never looked back, shooting 4-under-par 32 Saturday and getting to 10-under-par 98 for the tournament. He finished six strokes ahead of his nearest competitor, Kuranosuke Shimzu of Japan. Shimzu posted an impressive bogey-free 3-under-par 33 to leap into second place. Treed Huang of Katy, Texas finished third at 2-under-par 106. First-round leader Conner Ritter of East Sparta, Ohio finished fourth at 1-under-par 107, while Justin Sui of Lake Orion, Mich., finished fifth at 1-over-par 109.
Jed Dy of the Philippines created some distance from the rest of the field Saturday, increasing his lead and winning the Boys 7 division of the World Championship by four strokes. Dy made three final-round birdies on his card of 2-under-par 34, and finished 7-under-par 101 for the event. Jeevan Sihota of Canada kept it close, but could not keep up with the pace set by Dy, as he finished the tournament 4-under-par. Sihota shot a bogey-free 35 in the final round to claim second place honors. 2010 Champion Jackson Van Paris of Lake Forest, Ill., takes home sole possession of third place, as he finished the tournament at even-par 108. Logan Paczewski of Dallas, Pa., and Aaron Zhang of Lake Mary, Fla., finished in a tie for fifth at 2-over-par 110.
Nicklas Staub of Boynton Beach, Fla., came from behind to win the Boys 8 division in a thrilling finish. Staub went to a playoff with Benjamin James of Waterbury, Conn., and clinched the tournament on the first playoff hole. After shooting the only under-par final round on the back nine at Mid Pines, Staub drained a 7-foot birdie putt to clinch a World Championship victory. James opened his final round with a bogey, but battled to stay in contention all day, finishing tied with Staub at even-par 108. Jackson Rivera of Rossmoor, Calif., was also in it until the last minute, as he finished one-stroke behind at 1-over-par 109. Juan Camilo Vesga Solano of Colombia finished fourth at 4-over-par 112, while a host of players tied for fifth. Liam Shinn of Norcross, Ga., Jordan Duminy of South Africa, Jose Cristobal Islas of Mexico, Torin Dezzani of Honolulu and Narayan Nanu Mohan of Charlotte, N.C., finished at 7-over-par 115.
Karl Vilips of Australia capped off a remarkable comeback to claim the Boys 9 division in exciting fashion on Pinehurst No. 8. Vilips began the day three strokes behind the lead, but did all in his power to come out on top, carding a final-round 5-under-par 67 to come out on top by a single stroke. He recorded a birdie on No. 18 to edge David Hu of Canada by the slimmest of margins. Hu did all he could to catch Vilips, as he birdied Nos. 17 and 18, but still came up one stroke shy at 5-under-par 211. Nicholas Gabrelcik of Trinity, Fla., finished third at 3-under-par 213. Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley, Mass., finished fourth, while Xiang Rui Bai of China finished in fifth.
Wen Liang Xie of China won one of the closest competitions of the 2011 World Championship. Xie and Ricky Castillo of Yorba Linda, Calif., nearly matched one another shot-for-shot all tournament, but Xie finished one stroke clear of Castillo. Their shot matching 70s on Thursday and 71s Saturday, but Xie's second-round 66 bested Castillo's 67 as both went low on Friday. Xie finished the tournament at 9-under-par 207. Mason Nome of Houston also remained in contention throughout the tournament, finishing third at 4-under-par 212. Christo Lamprecht of South Africa finished in fourth position at 1-over-par 217, while Max Peerbooms of the Netherlands and Nicolas Cassidy of Alpharetta, Ga., tied for fifth at 4-over-par.
Pinehurst native A.J. Beechler was the story at Talamore Golf Resort, shooting all four rounds in the 60s and winning by a remarkable eight strokes. Beechler finished the tournament with a 3-under-par 69 to get his three-day total to 10-under-par. It is the first World Championship title for Beechler, who has four U.S. Kids Golf Regional Championship titles. Harrison Corbin of Inman, S.C., shot all three rounds at even-par or better to finish second at 2-under-par 214 for the event. Brian Terlesky of Youngstown, Ohio shot the low final round with a 4-under-par 68, which gave him sole possession of third at 1-under-par 215. Trent Phillips, also of Inman, S.C., finished fourth ahead of a group of five tied for fifth. Galven Green of Malaysia, Patrick Welch of Providence, R.I., Benjamin Wong of China, Robert Hollembaek of Crofton, Md., and Frankie Capan of St. Paul, Minn., all finished at 1-over-par 217.
The Boys 12 group went right down to the wire, as Koichiro Ishika of Japan claimed the title by one shot. Ishika entered the final hole tied with Eddy Lai of San Jose, Calif., who earned the World Champion title in 2010. Lai missed a six-foot par putt just wide on No. 18, and Ishika slammed home a par putt to win. Ishika pointed to a tough up-and-down on the par-3 12th as the turning point in his round. He totalled a 3-under-par 69 for his final round, earning an impressive tournament total of 13-under-par 203. WonJun Lee of South Korea also gave an impressive showing, finishing 7-under-par and in third place. Ben Fuller of Birmingham, Ala., Daniel Martinez of Austin, Texas, and ShuoHarry Huang of Canada finished in a tie for third at 2-under-par 214.
Sky Sudberry of Spring, Texas enjoyed another impressive round on Friday as she posted a 3-under-par 33 to take the lead into the final round at Midland Country Club. Sudberry recorded three birdies in her first five holes and parred the other six to move to 3-under-par 69 for the tournament. She has some tight competition from Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Fla., who equalled Sudberry's mark with a 33. Pano made an eagle 3 on the 237 yard par-5 3rd hole and a birdie at No. 7 to pair with seven other pars. She is currently 1-under-par for the tournament, two strokes behind Sudberry. Silvia Brunotti of Italy shot a 1-under-par 35 to get to 2-over-par 74 and is in third place. Brunotti, playing with Pano, also eagled No. 3. Airi Sugiura of Japan and Amari Avery of Riverside, Calif., are tied for fourth, six strokes behind the lead.
Mimi Chen of China took over the lead in the Girls 8 division after firing a 1-under-par 35 for her second round. Her round was the only one under-par and it gives her a two-stroke lead headed to the final round. Chen took advantage of the par-5s, making birdie on both of them. She will be joined in the final tee time by Aishvarya Bedi of San Jose, Calif., and Romina Villanueva of Mexico, who both shot 1-over-par 37 to move to 3-over-par 75 after two rounds. Bedi began her round with eight consecutive pars before a finishing bogey, while carded three bogies around back-to-back birdies on Nos. 5 and 6. First-round leader Elle Nachmann of Boca Raton, Fla., is tied with Ana Raquel Sanson Leon of Panama for fourth place, three shots behind Chen.
Karah Sanford of Escondido, Calif., continued her assault on the Girls 9 division, as she fired a 3-under-par 33 to back up her first-round 5-under-par 31. At 8-under-par 64 for the tournament, she is currently eight strokes clear of her nearest competitor. Sanford birdied three of her first four holes and parred her way home to make it 18 bogey-free holes thus far. 2010 champion Emilie Alba Paltrinieri leads a group of three players tied for second place at even-par 72 for the tournament. Paltrinieri and Mohan Du of China shot 1-over-par 37 to get to 72, while Christine Wang of Houston matched Sanford's low score at 3-under-par 33. Wang eagled two of the three par-5s that she faced. Cordelia Lopez of Mexico is tied with Maria Camila Moreno Sanabria of Colombia for fifth place at 1-over-par 73 for the tournament.
Anina Ku of Basking Ridge, N.J., created more distance between herself and the field in the second round. She followed up her first-round 9-under-par 63 with a 3-under-par 69, getting her to 12-under-par 132 for the tournament. She holds a seven-stroke lead over Monet Chun of Canada, who put up a 2-under-par 70 to get to 5-under-par for the weekend. Samantha Marie Bruce of the Philippines follows at 2-under-par 142, while Grace Chen of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Brooke Seay of San Diego are in a tie for fourth position at 1-under-par 139.
Youngin Chun of South Korea made a statement Friday with a 4-under-par 68 to seize the lead at Southern Pines Golf Club. Chun has been under-par for each of the first two rounds, and is currently at 5-under-par 139 for the tournament. She is trailed closely by first-round leader Elizabeth Moon of Forrest City, Ark. Moon posted a 1-over-par 73, but is only two strokes behind Chun thanks to a strong 4-under-par 68 on Thursday. Vanessa Manrique of Colombia remains in the hunt at even-par 144, while Gina Kim of Chapel Hill, N.C., is currently in fourth position at 2-over-par 146. Jade Isra Siphomsay of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Hailey Jones of Dallas are tied for fifth at 5-over-par 149.
2010 World Champion Clare Amelia Legaspi of the Philippines reclaimed a familiar spot atop the leaderboard after a second consecutive round under par. Legaspi recorded three birdies and two bogies over her second round and will take a two-stroke lead into Saturday's final round on Pinehurst No. 3. She dominated the par 5s all day, as she played the four holes in 3-under-par. First-round co-leader Kayley Marschke of Suwanee, Ga., remains in the hunt at 1-under-par 143 for the tournament after a 1-over-par 73 in the second round. Kesaree Rojanapeansatith of Thailand is in third place at even-par 144 thanks to a 1-under-par 71. A host of players are tied for fourth, as Muni He of Canada, Jacinta Pikunas of Youngstown, Ohio, Brooke Dillon of Prairieville, La., and Ella Woods of St. Augustine, Fla., are all currently at 3-over-par 147. Woods shot the low round of the day with a 3-under-par 69.
Allan Kournikova of Palm Beach, Fla., went low on Friday to claim a three-stroke lead headed to the final round. Kournikova, who trailed by one after the first round, put up a 4-under-par 32 to get to 6-under-par 66 for the tournament. He had four birdies and no bogies on a flawless second round, but he's not out of the woods yet. Treed Huang of Katy, Texas is three strokes behind the lead after a 1-under-par 35. Huang closed strongly with a birdie on No. 9 and will play alongside Kournikova in the final round. A three-way tie for third includes first-round leader Conner Ritter of East Sparta, Ohio, Justin Sui of Lake Orion, Mich., and Kuranosuke Shimzu of Japan, as all three players currently sit at 1-under-par 71.
There is a new leader in the Boys 7 age group, as Jed Dy of the Philippines went low Friday, firing a 3-under-par 33 to take the lead. Dy was 1-over-par through four holes, but caught fire late, as he birdied four of his final five holes to get to 5-under-par 67 for the tournament. He leads first-round leader Jeevan Sihota of Canada and 2010 champion Jackson Van Paris of Lake Forest, Ill., who are currently at 2-under-par 70. Sihota had it to 4-under-par for the tournament, but made two late bogies to close out his round. Van Paris made two birdies and no bogies on his round of 2-under-par 34. Logan Paczewski of Dallas, Pa., is in fourth place at 1-over-par 73, while Aaron Zhang of Lake Mary, Fla., and Brantley Scott of Dothan, Ala., are tied for fifth at 2-over-par 74 for the tournament.
First-round leader Benjamin James of Waterbury, Conn., held his lead but has company at the top. Jackson Rivera of Rossmoor, Calif., posted a 2-under-par 34 to tie James for the lead at 2-under-par 70. James parred eight of the nine holes he played Friday, but one bogey slipped him back into a tie for the lead. Rivera came out hot with birdies on two of his first three holes to put the pressure on. The two will be joined in the final group by Nicklas Staub of Boynton Beach, Fla., who shot an even-par 36 Friday to remain at 1-over-par for the tournament. Jordan Duminy of South Africa and Juan Camilo Vesga Solano of Colombia are tied for fourth position at 2-over-par 74 for the tournament.
The three-way tie for the lead in Boys 9 has been broken, but the contest remains very much up in the air. Nicholas Gabrelcik of Trinity, Fla., claims the lead at 4-under-par 140 after firing a second-round 69. He leads by one over David Hu of Canada, who posted a 2-under-par 70 in his second round. Karl Vilips of Australia remains near the lead, after posting a 70 to get him to 1-under-par 143 for the event. Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley, Mass., and Martin Vorster of South Africa are tied for fourth at 3-over-par 147.
Two players have created a bit of separation in the Boys 10 age division, as Wen Liang Xie of China and Ricky Castillo of Yorba Linda, Fla., are at 8-under-par and 7-under-par respectively. Xie shot a blistering second-round 66 to pull ahead from a first-round tie including Castillo and Christo Lamprecht of South Africa. Castillo followed with a 5-under-par 67 to remain one stroke behind the lead. Mason Nome of Houston also carded a 67 to jump into third place, four strokes behind Xie. Lamprecht and Graham Corbin of Inman, S.C., are tied for fourth place at 1-under-par 143.
A.J. Beechler of Pinehurst, N.C., made sure that the local inclusion to the leaderboard would not go away, as he fired his second consecutive round in the 60s at Talamore Golf Resort. Beechler bettered his first-round score by one shot, as he posted a 4-under-par 68 to get to 7-under-par 137 headed to the final round. He is followed closely by Galven Green of Malaysia, who recorded the only other second round in the 60s, a 69. Green is currently three strokes back at 4-under-par 140. Kyle Cox of Carrolton, Texas also remains in contention, as he lurks at 3-under-par 141. Harrison Corbin of Inman, S.C., and Patrick Welch of Providence, R.I., round out the top five at 1-under-par 143.
Scores continue to be low in the eldest age group on the boys side. Koichiro Ishika of Japan and Eddy Lai of San Jose, Calif., are tied atop the lead at 10-under-par 134. Ishika fired his second consecutive 5-under-par 67, featuring seven birdies on his round. He finished 3-under-par in his last five holes to make a statement. Lai, the Boys 11 Champion in 2010, shot the low round of the day with a 6-under-par 66. He got off to a tremendous start, posting a 5-under-par 31 on the front nine, and cruising home to set himself up nicely. First-round leader WonJun Lee put up an impressive 2-under-par 70 in the second round and is one stroke behind the leaders at 9-under-par 135. Ben Fuller of Birmingham, Ala., shot his second consecutive round in the 60s, putting up a 3-under-par 69. His back-nine 33 keeps him squarely in contention, three strokes behind the lead. Reese Ramsey of Austin, Texas and ShuoHarry Huang of Canada are tied for fifth at 4-under-par 140.
After the first round, Sophia Louis of Boca Raton, Fla., holds claim to a one-stroke lead in the Girls 7 & Under age division. Louis' round featured two birdies and one bogey. After carding birdies on Nos. 3 and 5, Louis brought home her round with four consecutive pars to finish at 1-under-par 35. She leads by one stroke over Sky Sudberry of Spring, Texas. Sudberry recorded two birdies and two bogies to go along with five pars to stand alone in second place. Two behind Louis is Airi Sugiura of Japan, who posted a 1-over-par 37. Sugiura came out of the gate with five straight pars and held it together to finish the first day in the top three. Alexa Pano of Lake Worth, Fla., is currently in fourth place at 2-over-par 38, while Amari Avery of Riverside, Calif., and Silvia Brunotti of Italy are tied for fifth place at 3-over-par 39.
Elle Nachmann of Boca Raton, Fla., finds herself in a familiar place on top of the leaderboard after round one. Nachmann, who won the Girls 7 & Under division at the 2010 World Championship, sits alone atop the leaderboard after a 1-over-par 37. Her lead is far from secure, as nine other players are within two strokes of her pace. Romina Villanueva of Mexico, Alyssa DiMarcantonio of Canada, Aishvarya Bedi of San Jose, Calif., Mimi Chen of China and Mackenzie Gallagher of Deltona, Fla., are tied in second position after posting a 2-over-par 74.
A year after being defeated in a playoff at the World Championship, Karah Sanford came out swinging at Longleaf Golf and Country Club. She put up a 5-under-par 31 to take a strong four-stroke lead into the second round. Three players are tied at 1-under-par 35, including 2010 World Champion Emilie Alba Paltrinieri of Italy. Also posting 35s were Mohan Du of China and Agustina Gomez Cisterna of Argentina. Maria Fernanda Martinez and Cordelia Lopez, both of Mexico, are tied for fifth at even-par 36.
The lowest score of the day came from the Girls 10 age group. Anina Ku of Basking Ridge, N.J., fired an astonishing 9-under-par 63 to take a commanding lead after one round of play. While her lead is large, it is not insurmountable. Grace Chen of Sunnyvale, Calif., shot a 4-under-par 68 to keep Ku on her heels. Monet Chun of Canada also went low in the first round, recording a 3-under-par 69. Three are tied for fourth, as Brooke Seay of San Diego, Catherine Lau of South Africa and Son Wooju of South Africa shot 2-under-par 70 to remain in the mix.
Elizabeth Moon of Forrest City, Ark., fired the lowest score on Southern Pines Country Club with an opening-round 4-under-par 68 on Thursday. Moon, who tied for 12th in 2010, was on fire at times, carding a remarkable eight birdies for her round. Late success was key, as a birdie on No. 18 capped off a back-nine 3-under-par 33. She is closely followed by defending champion Youngin Chun of South Korea, who put up a 1-under-par 71. Chun was consistent throughout her round, piling up 13 pars along with three birdies and two bogies. Jade Isra Siphomsay of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and Gina Kim of Chapel Hill, N.C., are tied for third at even-par 72. Siphomsay battled back from a front nine 38 with a back-nine 34, featuring two birdies and seven pars. Kim had it to 2-under-par through six holes, but gave back a couple shots later in the round. Siphomsay and Kim remain squarely in contention. Five players are currently tied for fifth, as Ana Carola Ramirez of Mexico, Vanessa Manrique of Colombia, Hailey Jones of Dallas, Maddy Vergura of Concord, Mass., and Zora Gittens of Parkland, Fla., each shot 2-over-par 74.
A two-way tie tops the leaderboard in Girls 12 after the first day of play. Defending champion Clare Amelia Legaspi of the Philippines and Kayley Marschke of Suwannee, Ga., pulled ahead with a pair of 2-under-par 70s at Pinehurst No. 3. Legaspi finds herself in a familiar place atop the leaderboard after playing flawless golf over the last 13 holes of her first round. She made three birdies and ten pars after recording a bogey on No. 5. Marschke made a tournament-high five birdies in her first round despite teeing off late in the morning and playing in sweltering heat all day. Muni He of China is currently in third position after firing a 1-under-par round of 71. He came out on fire, getting to 2-under-par after just five holes. After four bogies in the middle of her round, she rebounded to finish 1-under-par on her last six holes. Jacinta Pikunas of Youngstown, Ohio and Kesaree Rojanapeansatith of Thailand are currently in fourth position after matching each other with rounds of 1-over-par 73.
Scores were impressive at Midland Country Club, as the youngest boys in the tournament had no trouble navigating their nine-hole trek. Conner Ritter of East Sparta, Ohio took the lead after a 3-under-par 33. Three are tied a stroke behind Ritter, as 2011 European Champion Allan Kournikova of Palm Beach, Fla., Treed Huang of Katy, Texas and Justin Sui of Lake Orion, Mich., matched one another with 2-under-par 34s. Kuranosuke Shimizu of Japan also broke par, posting a 1-under-par 35.
Jeevan Sihota of Canada posted a nearly flawless round of 3-under-par 33 to take a one-stroke lead into Friday's second round in the Boys 7 division. Playing the front nine of Mid Pines Golf Club, Sihota played nine bogey-free holes and added birdies at Nos. 2, 7 and 9 to grab sole possession of the lead. Jed Dy of the Philippines was the only other player in the age division to break par. Dy, who finished second in the 2010 World Championship, also carded three birdies and added one bogey. Closely trailing Sihota and Dy is a host of players at even-par 36. Aaron Zhang of Lake Mary, Fla., Gabriel Hegerstrom of Coral Springs, Fla., Logan Paczewski of Dallas, Pa., Jayden Ford of New Zealand, Solomon Petrie of Akron, Ohio, and 2010 World Champion Jackson Van Paris of Lake Forest, Ill., form a six-way tie for third place.
Benjamin James of Waterbury, Conn., took a strong hold of the lead after one round in the Boys 8 division. James avoided mistakes while playing the back nine at Mid Pines Golf Club, as he made three consecutive birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 14. His other six holes resulted in pars, and he will take a three-stroke lead into the second round after a 3-under-par 33. Two are tied for second at even-par 36, as Jackson Rivera of Rossmoor, Calif., and Liam Shinn of Norcross, Ga., remain squarely in the hunt. Rivera made no birdies on his round, but offset two bogies with an eagle 2 on No. 14, a 231-yard par-4. Shinn's 36 was more conventional, as he answered two bogies with birdies to join Friday's final grouping. Jordan Duminy of South Africa and Nicklas Staub of Boynton Beach, Fla., are tied for fourth after both players carded a 1-over-par 37.
The Boys 9 age group is the most crowded of all after the first round. David Hu of Canada, Michael Thorbjornsen of Wellesley, Mass., Nicholas Gabrelcik of Trinity, Fla., are all tied for the lead after matching one another with 1-under-par 71s. Hu, who began on No. 10 at Pinehurst No. 8, recorded an opening bogey but rebounded to rattle off nine consecutive pars. He added three birdies with another bogey on the back nine to get to 1-under-par for his round. Thorbjornsen, who played in the second group of the day off No. 1, played a clean round with two birdies and a bogey sprinkled in with 15 pars for a consistent 71. Gabrelcik rallied to break par on the day, as he made three birdies on the back nine, including two in the last three holes. Three players are currently tied for fourth, as Xiang Rui Bai of China, Karl Vilips of Australia, and Michael Hauer Jr., of Hudson, Wisc., shot 1-over-par 73s to sit two strokes behind the leaders. Eighteen players are within four strokes of the lead.
A three-way tie also tops the Boys 10 division after one round. Wen Liang Xie of China, Ricky Castillo of Yorba Linda, Calif., and Christo Lamprecht of South Africa posted the low scores of the day with 2-under-par 70s. Defending champion Xie started out with a flourish, carding a birdie on two of his first three holes. Castillo recorded two bogies in his first five holes, but bounced back with four birdies and nine pars on the rest of his round. Lamprecht had a similar bounceback round, as he bogied his first two holes, but rallied late with three birdies in his last four holes to tie for the lead. Rondarius Walters of Grand Prairie, Texas is a shot behind at 1-under-par 71, while Peyton Prieskorn of Lake Orion, Mich., is alone in fifth after an even-par 72.
Local product A.J. Beechler of Pinehurst, N.C., claimed the lead after the first round in the Boys 11 age group at Talamore Country Club. He holds a two-stroke lead after a 3-under-par 69 to set the pace. Harrison Corbin of Inman, S.C., Galven Green of Malaysia, Kritchayapol Sinchai of Thailand and Kyle Cox of Carrolton, Texas are tied for second place at 1-under-par, after each posted a 71. The age division remains tight, as 22 players are within five strokes of the lead.
The Boys 12 age group successfully conquered Pinehurst No. 4 on day one of the 2011 World Championship. WonJun Lee of South Korea fired a 7-under-par 65 to take a two-stroke lead into the second round. He was 4-under-par through four holes on his way to a blistering 5-under-par 31 on the front nine. He added to that total with a 34 on the back to cement his position on top of the leaderboard. Koichiro Ishika of Japan was equally impressive with a 5-under-par 67 on the day. Ishika recorded six birdies and no bogies in his first 17 holes before carding a lone birdie on No. 18. Ben Fuller of Birmingham, Ala., birdied three of his last four holes to get to 4-under-par 68 on the day. He is tied with defending champion Eddy Lai of San Jose, Calif., who recorded only one bogey on his round. Daniel Martinez of Austin, Texas shot 3-under-par 69 and currently sits in fifth position. In total, 16 players finished the day under-par.