The first day of the Major Champions Invitational presented by Golf Saudi at Lookout Mountain Golf Club in Phoenix ended with Jess Baker from England atop of the leaderboard after a five-under-par 67.
Baker, who is representing the team of Georgia Hall, had six birdies on the day to lead the Girls' section of the event by one shot from Zoe Antoinette Campos from the USA and Scotland’s Carmen Griffiths.
In the Boys' division, Yuki Moriyama from Japan, representing the team of Danielle Kang, is tied for the lead after a four-under round 68. Moriyama’s round included nine birdies, including a staggering seven birdies on the front nine. TK Ratchanon Chantananuwat from Thailand, part of the team captained by Ariya Jutanugarn, also shot a 68.
The event is the brainchild of six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo and he is thrilled by how it has played out so far.
“What a great start to the tournament," said the Englishman. "We have a lot of really talented junior players with us this week from all over the world, which is evident by the low scoring on this beautiful golf course.
"We have Jess leading the way as part of the team led by Georgia Hall but with a such a great field and so many players under-par already it is shaping up nicely for an exciting finish over the final two rounds.”
All in, 21 players of the 72 in the field finished in red figures, which underlines the strength in depth of this international field made up of players from 18 countries and five continents.
The teams are made up four players each, selected to compete by one of 18 major champs, including 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus, ten-time major champion Annika Sorenstam, and current world No.1 Brooks Koepka. The concept is to provide young players with a professional tournament experience and unique insights from legends of the game.
The players were therefore excited by the close-up golf clinic conducted by Sir Nick, who gave his thoughts on the mental and technique elements of the game after the days’ play had finished. Later in the week, the players will head over to the Waste Management Phoenix Open at nearby TPC Scottsdale to watch some of the heroes in action to finish the week off in style.
Faldo added: "We have to thank our sponsors, Golf Saudi, without whom it wouldn’t be possible to put on such a great event, as well as the great professional players acting as team captains. Each of them is an inspiration to these juniors, and it means a lot to them, and myself, to have them involved."
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