Younger Pressel playing well at Girls Junior

By Usga News ServicesJuly 22, 2008, 4:00 pm
USGAWest Hartford, Conn. ' Kyle Roig, 15, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., recorded a 4-under 67 to take a one-stroke lead after Mondays first round of stroke play at the 2008 U.S. Girls Junior Championship, being played at the 6,265-yard, par-71 Hartford Golf Club.
 
On the par-5, 500-yard ninth hole, the 18th of her round, Roig hit her approach shot from 80 yards to 8 feet, which she converted to finish ahead of the trio of Stephanie Kim, 16, of Orlando, Fla.; Jennifer Kirby, 17, of Canada; and Samantha Swinehart, 16, of Lancaster, Ohio, all of whom shot 3-under 68.
 
It was a good start for Roig, who is playing in her third Girls Junior.
 
When I woke up I was very calm, said Roig, who represented her native country, Puerto Rico, in the 2006 Womens World Amateur Team Championship. I was very determined and positive to do well today.
 
That determination paid off as Roig recorded six birdies and two bogeys.
 
It takes the pressure off, said Roig of her solid start. I am still going to go out there and try to go low and get medalist. I want to get medalist.
 
Kirby and Kim both eagled the par-5, 481-yard 10th hole to highlight their 3-under rounds. Kirby hit her second shot from 221 yards with a 7-wood to 15 feet, and Kim hit her second shot from 220 yards with a 3-wood to 3 feet.
 
It just all came together today, said Kirby, who is playing in her third Girls Junior. I hit the ball really well and hit a lot of greens, which is pretty vital on this course, and I just made a couple of putts.
 
For Kim, the key was her success on the greens ' she needed just 29 putts during her first round.
 
I was playing great, said Kim, also playing in her third Girls Junior. I wasnt hitting the ball overly well, but I was getting up and down from everywhere.
 
Swinehart, the lone USGA championship rookie among the leaders, had four birdies and a bogey in her first round. Her 68 bested her previous low round by three strokes.
 
Two strokes off the lead is 17-year-old Madison Pressel of Boca Raton, Fla. Pressel, the younger sister of 2005 U.S. Womens Amateur champion Morgan Pressel, had three birdies and one bogey en route to a 2-under 69. She hopes to improve upon the record of her sister, who won 14 matches in six Girls Junior appearances but never took home the trophy.
 
Its my chance to one-up her on something, said Madison with a good-natured smile. Well see how that goes.
 
The 2006 Girls Junior champion, Jenny Shin, 15, of Torrance, Calif., finished at 1-over 72 and 2007 winner Kristen Park, 16, of Buena Park, Calif., finished with a 73.
 
Park said she didnt feel any additional pressure being the defending champion.
 
I try not to feel pressure from that because that might affect how I play, said Park, who is trying to become the first repeat winner since Holly Stacy won three consecutive championships from 1969-71.
 
Despite being one of the better-known players in the field, 2008 USA Curtis Cupper Kimberly Kim, 16, of Pahoa, Hawaii, also said pressure was not a factor.
 
Maybe if I were a serious golfer, there would be more pressure, said Kim, who in 2006 at age 14 became the youngest U.S. Womens Amateur champion in history. But Im not.
 
Her game, however, remains serious. After recording one birdie and four bogeys on her first nine holes, she came back with two birdies on her second nine to finish at 1-over 72.
 
It was a mess on the front, said Kim, who is vying to become the seventh golfer to win the Girls Junior and Womens Amateur. On the back I settled down and played better.
 
Following a second day of stroke play Tuesday, the U.S. Girls Junior field will be reduced to 64 players for match play. The first and second rounds of match play are scheduled for Wednesday, the third and quarterfinal rounds will be played Thursday, the semifinal matches are on Friday, and the 36-hole championship final will be played Saturday.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Girls' Junior Amateur
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    Web.com Tour releases 2019 schedule, trims Finals

    By Will GraySeptember 20, 2018, 1:51 pm

    The Web.com Tour has officially released its full schedule for the 2019 season, a slate that will feature a Labor Day finish and only three Finals events as opposed to four.

    The developmental circuit will feature 27 tournaments, the same number as this season. Things will kick off in the Bahamas for the third straight year, as two events in the islands begin a stretch of five events in as many weeks across four different countries.

    The Feb. 14-17 Suncoast Classic in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., will be the first domestic event of 2019, and one of three new events to the schedule. Also added are the Evans Scholars Invitational in suburban Chicago and the TPC Colorado Championship in Berthoud, Colo.

    But with the PGA Tour overhauling its schedule and dropping a FedExCup playoff event to finish ahead of football season, the Web.com schedule also features changes next year. The Web.com Tour Finals, which are used to determine the 50 players who will be promoted to the PGA Tour for the following season, will now feature only three events and follow a similar timeline.

    The first Finals event will be the Aug. 15-18 Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational in Columbus, Ohio, followed by the Albertsons Boise Open. The season will conclude Aug. 30-Sept. 2 with the Web.com Tour Championship in Atlantic Beach, Fla., one week after the PGA Tour season ends with the revamped Tour Championship in Atlanta.

    The DAP Championship at Canterbury Golf Club in Beachwood, Ohio, a Finals event for each of the last three years, has been dropped from the 2019 schedule. Gone, too, are the North Mississippi Classic in Oxford and the Rust-Oleum Championship in Ivanhoe, Ill.

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    Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

    By Tiger TrackerSeptember 20, 2018, 1:30 pm

    Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.


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    Inside Attica: Interviewing Valentino Dixon

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 20, 2018, 2:00 am

    By RYAN GRIFFITHS

    Some stories stick with you longer than others. First time you get to do a feature. First time you meet a sports legend (it was Allen Iverson for me). Seeing a championship isn’t bad, either. Been there, done that. Lawnmower museum on the east coast of England, tsunami survivors in California, re-connecting Al Geiberger with his lost 59 tape, all good, but no story or environment has stuck with me like going to Attica Correctional Facility in 2013 to tell the story of Valentino Dixon.

    For starters, I’d never been searched before setting up for an interview. Not just me, everyone - all three cameramen, Jimmy Roberts, the guy escorting us in who worked there. Everyone. Attica trusts no one. Can’t blame them after 1971, when inmates protesting living conditions took members of the prison staff hostage. The ensuing police response left 29 inmates and 10 hostages dead.

    Attica has a "shank wall," a collection of homemade weapons seized from inmates and displayed like baseball cards in a plastic case on the wall outside the guards' lunchroom. Prison interior decorating at its finest. Nice touch.

    We went to do a story on an inmate who was introduced to the world in a Golf Digest article by Max Adler in 2012. "The golf artist who had never stepped foot on a golf course - Valentino Dixon.: He was in for murder. Second degree. You know, your standard golf story.


    Wrongfully imprisoned man freed after nearly three decades


    Dixon, a former aspiring artist before getting caught up in the Buffalo drug-dealing scene, started sketching photos from Golf Digest for the warden. I’ve never been to prison, but from what I have gathered from watching The Shawshank Redemption some 8,000 times, getting in the warden’s good graces is a smart habit to pick up if you’re doing serious time.

    Dixon's art was insanely good. Even more so because he did it all with colored pencils. No paintbrushes allowed (see shank wall above). Jimmy, the crew and I stopped for a good 10-15 minutes to marvel at his creations before continuing with the interview.

    We spent a solid 40 minutes talking to the man who supposedly killed a man 20-something years prior. In that time, he pleaded his innocence to us over and over again. He spoke like a man who had rehearsed every angle of his story over and over and over again. I give him credit - there were no holes in his story. I consider myself a pretty good judge of character, and he didn’t look like a killer, didn’t sound like one. either. But what did I know? I’d never met one - that I know of. And if you were stuck in prison for 20-plus years and all of a sudden had a camera in front of you and a platform to plead your innocence, wouldn’t you do your best to try to get out of there?

    Since the guards wouldn’t allow any food, the crew and I stopped at the first deli we saw on the ride back into Buffalo. After we were done eating, we all looked at each other, knowing what we all were thinking: "Do you think he did it?”

    Didn’t matter what we thought, we were just there to tell the story. On Wednesday, however, people whose opinions mattered made a decision and allowed someone who loves the game of golf, but has never stepped foot on a golf course, to do just that if he so chooses. That's a story that will stick with him for the rest of his life.

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    Wrongfully convicted inmate who turned to golf artistry freed

    By Associated PressSeptember 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    BUFFALO, N.Y. – A New York prison artist who never played golf but became known for drawings of lush courses he could only imagine was set free Wednesday after authorities agreed that another man committed the murder that put him behind bars for nearly three decades.

    Valentino Dixon walked out of Erie County Court into bright sunshine and hugs from his mother, daughter and a crowd of other relatives and friends, ready for a meal at Red Lobster and vowing to fight on behalf of others who are wrongly convicted.

    "I love y'all," Dixon shouted after trading the green prison uniform he wore in court for jeans and a T-shirt. "It feels great."

    Earlier Wednesday, a judge agreed to set aside Dixon's conviction in the 1991 shooting death of 17-year-old Torriano Jackson on a Buffalo street corner and accepted a guilty plea from another man who had confessed to the killing two days after it happened.

    "There was a fight. Shots were fired. I grabbed the gun from under the bench, switched it to automatic, all the bullets shot out. Unfortunately, Torriano ended up dying," Lamarr Scott, who has been in prison for 25 years for an unrelated attempted murder, told the court. "I dropped the gun and ran and it was over and done with."

    Scott said he had gotten the gun, a Tec-9 semi-automatic, from Dixon and the two men had driven together to the crowded corner where the fighting broke out. Scott was given a sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison, concurrent with his current term.

    Judge Susan Eagan let stand a count of criminal possession of a weapon against Dixon, and its 5- to 15-year sentence, which she said he had satisfied.


    Inside Attica: Interviewing Valentino Dixon


    "You are eligible for release today," the judge said, igniting applause and shouts from courtroom supporters.

    "Mr. Dixon is not an innocent man. Don't be misguided in that at all," Erie County District Attorney John Flynn told reporters after the hearing. He described Dixon as "an up-and-coming drug dealer in the city of Buffalo" at the time of the shooting and said Scott was Dixon's bodyguard.

    "Mr. Dixon is innocent of the shooting and of the murder for what he was found guilty of," he said, "but Mr. Dixon brought the gun to the fight. It was Mr. Dixon's gun."

    While behind bars, Dixon rekindled his childhood passion for drawing, often spending 10 hours a day creating vivid colored pencil landscapes, including of golf courses, while imagining freedom. Articles in Golf Digest and elsewhere have drawn public attention to Dixon's case. NBC Sports' Jimmy Roberts spotlighted Dixon in a 2013 segment for his "In Play" series on Golf Channel.

    “I’ve worked in this business for close to 40 years, and this is the most consequential thing I’ve ever been a part of," Roberts said after learning of Dixon's release. "I’m a sports reporter, but we helped get a man out of prison. I’m humbled and dumbstruck.”

    Georgetown University students made a documentary as part of a prison reform course last spring. The class worked with Dixon's attorney, Donald Thompson, to have the conviction overturned.

    "It went so far beyond reasonable doubt that it's pretty outrageous that he would have been convicted and it would have been upheld," said Marc Howard, director of the university's Prisons and Justice Initiative. Howard taught the course with childhood friend, Marty Tankleff, who also spent years wrongfully imprisoned.

    Dixon said he will keep drawing, while working on behalf of other prisoners.

    "If you don't have any money in this system, it's hard to get justice because the system is not equipped or designed to give a poor person a fair trial," he said. "So we have a lot of work ahead of us."

    His daughter, Valentina Dixon, was a baby when her father went to prison. She brought her 14-month-old twins, Ava and Levi, to court from their Columbus, Ohio, home.

    "We're definitely going to go shopping and go explore life," she said. "I can't wait to get him a cellphone and teach him how to Snapchat."

    Dixon's mother, Barbara Dixon, said she was in shock after relying on her faith while fighting for his release.

    "We're going to Red Lobster," she said when asked what was next. "And everybody's invited."