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Julia Misemer, No. 4 Nicholas Gross and Jay Leng Lead Day 1 of the 46th Junior PGA Championships

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Julia Misemer, of Overland Park, Kansas delivered the low round of the day, firing an 8-under 64 that opened with three straight birdies and finished with a total of nine birdies in her opening round.

Julia Misemer, of Overland Park, Kansas delivered the low round of the day, firing an 8-under 64 that opened with three straight birdies and finished with a total of nine birdies in her opening round.

A return to a familiar format at the 46th Junior PGA Championships made for memorable golf at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club Tuesday. With both boys and girls competing at the same time for the first time since 2017, U.S. Junior Ryder Cup girls alum Julia Misemer, No. 4 ranked boys junior golfer Nicholas Gross and 2018 PGA Jr. League champion Jay Leng shone during the first round.  

Misemer, of Overland Park, Kansas delivered the low round of the day, firing an 8-under 64 that opened with three straight birdies and finished with a total of nine birdies in her opening round. The University of Arizona commit birdied holes 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 14 on the Ravines Course, giving her a one-stroke lead in the girls division over Rianne Mikhaela Malixi of the Philippines and Angela Liu of Irvine, California. Malixi shot 7-under 65 while matching Misemer with nine birdies. Liu’s 7-under 65 came with six birdies and an eagle on No. 11.

“Perfect day for golf,” Misemer said. “I definitely think I had an advantage starting on hole 1 with the first three holes being very straightforward. Starting off birdie, birdie, birdie set a good pace for the day. I got in a good rhythm. It also helped me get my putter all warmed up. It felt like I was making everything for a while there.”
Gross, of Downington, Pennsylvania, topped the morning wave of boys with a 5-under 67. Playing on Cog Hill’s infamous Dubsdread Course,  he played bogey-free golf and carded five birdies.
“It was just a good round overall from start to finish,” Gross said. “Started on 10, birdied it from 4 feet. Then made a few pars and another birdie on 13. Then I kind of kept it all going, hit some more greens, kept the bogeys off the card all day and then finished strong on 8 and 9 with a couple of birdies to get 5-under, which is a good round out there today.”
Leng, of San Diego, California, teed off in the second group of the afternoon wave and matched Gross with a 5-under 67. He, too, played bogey-free golf and carded five birdies on Dubsdread.

“Pretty stress free,” Leng said after his round. “Putted well. Hit it well. I had a lot of birdie chances. My game has been feeling pretty good lately. I hit it pretty decent. I made all of my short putts. Anything inside 10 feet was pretty much on the line.” 

Leng has familiarity with PGA junior championships, having played in back-to-back PGA Jr. League championships and winning it all with Team California in 2018 when he was 13. 

Low scores peppered the scoreboard at Cog Hill with 51 players - 36 girls and 15 boys -  shooting below par. Along with Misemer, Malixi and Liu, Jaclyn LaHa of Pleasanton, California, and Nika Ito of Japan round out the top five in the girls division. LaHa, ranked No. 7 in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, shot 6-under 66 while Ito finished 5-under 67. On the boys side, Luke Coyle of Campbellsville, Kentucky, and Max Herendeen of Bellevue, Washington, both shot 4-under 68 to tie for third. Maxwell Tjoa of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Evan McDermott of Spring Lake, Michigan, round out the top five at three-under par 69. 
Misemer’s Junior Ryder Cup “Best Golf Thing Ever Experienced”
Julia Misemer reunited with fellow 2020 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team member Sophie Linder of Carthage, Tennessee, in the 8 a.m. tee time Tuesday. Misemer leads the girls division at 8-under par 64, while Linder is ahead of the cut at 1-under 71 and sits tied for 23rd.
Julia Misemer, Sophie Linder and Leigh Chien walk toward the third fairway during the first round for the 46th Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championship held at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on August 2, 2022 in Lemont, Illinois.
Julia Misemer, Sophie Linder and Leigh Chien walk toward the third fairway during the first round for the 46th Boys and Girls Junior PGA Championship held at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on August 2, 2022 in Lemont, Illinois.

“The Junior Ryder Cup was the best golf thing I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Misemer said. “At first, we thought it was going to be a bummer that Europe wasn’t going to be able to come over and play the actual matches.I don’t think I would change it for anything the way that it turned out. It was so fun. I made so many friends and I just had such a great experience watching some of the icons from the TOUR.”
Due to the pandemic and ongoing issues related to COVID-19, the 2020 Junior Ryder Cup which would have featured matches between the U.S. and Europe was altered as the PGA of America selected a 12-player U.S. team for an exhibition at Whistling Straits. In a bit of a twist, the team was divided into three groups of four, and each group was joined by a sports icon appropriate for the Wisconsin-specific names the three squads adopted.

Misemer was paired with Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer, who led his team to the 2021 NBA Championship, 2021 Girls Junior PGA Champion Anna Davis, 2021 Boys Junior PGA Champion Caleb Surratt and 2021 Boys Junior PGA Championship runner-up Bryan Lee.
Of the 26 Illinois junior golfers competing this week at the Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Palos Park, Illinois, six are projected to make the cut. The cut after 36 holes is to the top 60 and ties and after 54 holes to the top 30 and ties. Here are their standings after Round 1.
T23. Jack Inabnit, Clarendon Hills, Ill. 73 (+1)
T23Martha Kuwahara, Northbrook, Ill. 71 (-1)
T39Jack Marshall, Lake Forest, Ill. 74 (+2)
T54 Jason Gordon, Northbrook, Ill. 75 (+3)
T60 Shannyn Vogler, Moline, Ill. 74 (+2)
T60 Lisa Copeland, Naperville, Ill. 74 (+2)
 The 46th Junior PGA Championship continues Wednesday at Cog Hill. Second round action gets underway at 7 a.m.


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