Wright leads boys, Jutanugarn paces girls at halfway in Junior PGA

jessica hoang
Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
Jessica Hoang was framed by trees on Wednesday as she played her second round.
The PGA of America

Series: PGA Feature

Published: Wednesday, August 03, 2011 | 8:24 p.m.

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Zachary Wright of Phoenix, Ariz., extended his lead in the Boys' Division to five strokes, while Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand took a commanding lead in the Girls' Division Wednesday in the 36th Junior PGA Championship presented by Under Armour and Heritage F.S.E.
Wright, who carded a 3-under-par 69 for a 135 total under benign playing conditions, leads Daniel Chian of Covina, Calif., who used four birdies to offset two bogeys for his second consecutive 70.
Jutanugarn collected seven birdies en route to a 68 for a 137 total and opened up a three-stroke lead over Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale, Ga. First-round leader Casey Danielson of Osceola, Wis., is in third at 142.
Wright owned a four-stroke lead after the opening round and picked up where he left off on Tuesday with an eagle on the second hole.
"I really jump-started my round when I hit it to a foot for eagle at the second," said Wright. "Then I made about a long putt from just off the green at No. 5 for another eagle. I was playing well."
Wright extended his lead to as many as nine strokes before closing with a back-nine 37, that included a double bogey at the difficult closing hole.
"I got too cute with a flop shot when I missed the green and then missed a short putt," said Wright. "But I am happy about my position right now. I have never been this ahead in a major golf tournament so I can't worry about anything but playing well."
Chian, who was in tie for second following the opening round, is excited about the opportunity to try and catch Wright.
"I think I can put pressure on the leader ," said Chian. "I have to keep doing what I'm doing and make a few more putts over the next 36 holes."
Lorens Chan of Honolulu, Hawaii, Cody Proveaux of Leesville, S.C., and David Lee of Houston, Texas, are tied for third place overall at 142.
In the Girls' Division, Jutanugarn, who won 2011 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship just over a week ago, played a flawless front nine to put herself in the lead for good after the opening nine holes.
"I played well on the first nine holes and got lucky at No. 8," said Jutanugarn, who sank a 50-foot putt that nearly jumped over the hole. "I made a lot of putts early."
Jutanugarn, who is seeking her second consecutive junior title, is also looking to build on her fourth-place finish in 2010.
"I am proud of how I played and it was so much fun," said Jutanugarn. "I want to play better than last year and proud of how I did today."
Stackhouse, who won the USGA Women's State Team Championship played at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in 2009, was disappointed in how she finished her round.
"I came out hot but then I made some silly mistakes in the middle of the round," said Stackhouse, who was 4 under after the first six holes. "But I pulled it together at the end and was able to handle myself pretty well."
Danielson, the first-round leader, could not match Tuesday's putting performance. Her 34 total putts were 10 more than yesterday.
"I got a little tense today and that affected my putting," said Danielson. "I was able to bounce back with a long birdie at No. 17, so I ended on a good note."
Defending Champion Cassy Isagawa of Wailuku, Hawaii, shot a second-round 74 and sits in a tie for eighth, 10 strokes off the pace.
The 72-hole Championship, being staged for the second consecutive year at Sycamore Hills Golf Club, features a 54-hole cut to the low 30 boys and 30 girls, including ties, following the third round of play on Thursday.
This year's field includes past winners of the Championship, PGA Junior Series event champions, PGA Section winners, many of Polo Golf and Golfweek's top-ranked players, and selected national junior tournament winners.
Golf Channel will present a one-hour highlight show of the 36th Junior PGA Championship, with the first airing on Thursday, Sept. 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Begun in 1976, the Junior PGA Championship has traditionally produced unforgettable golf performances and brings together the best junior golfers from around the country to compete for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy in the Boys' division and the Patty Berg Trophy in the Girls' division.